When Cleveland met Corinth Holders back in November at the Fike Duals, Rams wrestlers Chandler Spencer and Chris Gilmartin were pinned in their respective matches against the Pirates.
On Wednesday – with the stakes considerably higher – both avenged those losses, helping Cleveland capture the Two Rivers 3A Conference dual title with a 38-24 victory over visiting Corinth Holders.
Spencer defeated Cameron Carroll by an 8-4 decision at 170 pounds and Gilmartin followed with a 6-4 decision over Alvin Montanez at 182. Those were among nine individual victories in 14 bouts for the Rams (27-2, 5-0), who defeated Corinth Holders (19-6, 4-1) for the second time this season, having also prevailed 42-34 at the Fike Duals.
“It’s been a long season, and it’s been boiling down to this,” Spencer said. “I was pinned by this kid earlier in the season, and I was embarrassed, it was rough. ... I was so pumped for this match, the adrenaline was flowing, and I went out there with the mindset that I wasn’t going to lose.”
Spencer broke open a tight match against Carroll with a reversal and a takedown in the third period of his match. Gilmartin’s match was even more tense, the senior gettling a reversal with 30 seconds remaining to break a 4-all tie.
“Going into the match I didn’t even know I was going to wrestle him,” Gilmartin said. “Once I got on the mat, I didn’t (remember) he had beaten me before, I was just worried about winning.”
The victories by Spencer and Gilmartin were among several close ones pulled out by the Rams, as Juan Vera also won by a 7-5 decision over Kenaz Duck at 138 and Zachary Leinar eked out a 3-2 decision over Brandon Barrow at 152.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do in the middle weights, from 138 to 152,” Corinth Holders coach Kristian Stewart said. “Those were the key matches, we needed a pin at 145 and a win at 152 and a win at 170. Those were key matches and we didn’t make it happen. ... They were the better team (Wednesday).”
THEY SAID IT
“This is huge,” Cleveland coach Kenneth Watkins said. “Since Oct. 1, this date has been circled on our calender. This is what we pushed for, we knew they were going to be the team to beat to win the conference in everybody’s eyes. … we have guys who haven’t been leaders before step up and, whether they have wanted to or not, become leaders for us this year.”
THE MATCH WINNER
Cleveland’s Richard Alvuardo sealed the victory and the regular-season title when he pinned Bryen Daughtry in 3 minutes, 25 seconds of their 113-pound bout.
Leading 2-1 after the first period, Alvuardo turned Daughtry onto his back midway through the second period and got the pin moments later, giving the Rams a 32-24 with one bout remaining and setting off a wild celebration among the Cleveland wrestlers and coaches.
“I knew it was a big match, but I didn’t think it’d be that big where the team was going crazy,” Alvuardo said, a huge smile adorning his face. “It’s just something I’ve never felt before.”
Corinth Holders’ Mike Darden made quick work of Nathan Erickson, winning by fall in 1:12. Darden’s state-ranked teammates, fourth-ranked 220-pounder Larry Williams and fourth-ranked 285-pounder Frankie Miller also had short nights. Miller pinned Ja’Nathan Coward in 1:46 while Williams pinned Terry Riddle in 2:20.
Michael Pineda had Cleveland’s fastest pin, winning by fall over Gray Stewart in 1:58 of the opening bout at 126.
Jaydan Desaulniers (106 pounds, won by technical fall, 18-2, over Austin Carroll), Richard Alvuardo (113, pin), Jackson Desaulniers (120, pinned Brian Hines in 3 minutes, 22 seconds), Michael Pineda (126, pin), Noah Youngs (132, won by 12-6 decision over Trevor Leach), Juan Vera (138, decision), Zachary Leinar (152, decision), Chandler Spencer (170, decision), Chris Gilmartin (182, decision).
CORINTH HOLDERS WINNERS
Dustin Styons (145, won by 11-4 decision over Deondre Honomichl), Mike Darden (160, pin), Seamus Brennan (195, won by 1-0 decision over Jonathan Kisner), Larry Williams (220, pin), Frankie Miller (285, pin).