After falling behind early, Chapel Hill’s wrestling team rattled off 42 straight points to defeat visiting 1A powerhouse Chatham Central 60-22 Wednesday night.
For the 106, 113, 120, 126 and 132-pound weight classes, the Bears and Tigers traded blows, with neither team being able to pull off consecutive pins. Chatham Central led 22-18 after Ryan Baker’s major decision at 145-pounds.
“(Chatham Central) had younger kids down low, we had younger kids down low, and it made for good competition,” Chapel Hill coach Tripp Price said.
Tyler Tachman, Zachary Allen, Anthony Costiago, Cam Bergey and George McBurney all earned six points via pins for the Tigers.
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Caden Fields, Nick Daggett, Christian Sanchez all earned pins for the Bears, and Baker added on four points from his win.
Despite a lack of depth giving away 24 forfeit points to the Tigers, seeing younger athletes earn experience is a positive in the eyes of Chatham Central coach Joe Little.
“It’s going to affect us all year, having holes in the lineup and that hurts you a lot in dual-matches, but the ones we got a battling hard,” Little said. “Though, there’s no substitute for experience, wrestling matches like this – young against young – everyone is going to come out a winner.”
Chapel Hill stands at 8-1 heading into the “Tiger Holiday Classic” tournament on Dec. 22-23, which the Tigers will host for the 10th consecutive year.
Despite what may appear to be a lopsided score, the Bears, a traditional 1A powerhouse, were a purposeful scheduling addition as Price looks to prepare his Tigers for the tourney, which will have almost 50 teams.
“(Chatham Central is) a solid team, and they gave us the kind of competition we’ll see,” Price said. “Right now we’re trying to stay healthy, and we did that.”
Price says the Tiger Classic serves as a midseason measuring stick for his team’s standing on the east coast. Among the participants are 2A power Croatan and Newton-Conover, nearby Orange, a gold standard in 3A, and 4A giants Southeast Guilford and Hough High from outside of Charlotte.
“With 47 teams, tons of state qualifiers, we’ll get a really good feel for what we need to do after Christmas,” Price said. “It allows us to see people from all over the state, the top teams, and that’s what we’re trying to do so our kids can see the best without having to travel. We have a couple top 10 teams from Virginia, South Carolina and all the levels in North Carolina from the mountains to the coast, we got a lot of competition coming to town.”