Corinth Holders wrestling coach Kristian Stewart brought his Pirates to some familiar ground Thursday night as the grapplers donned in purple and gold traveled to Smithfield-Selma for a Two Rivers 3A Conference matchup.
Stewart, who coached at Smithfield-Selma for 16 years, saw things a bit differently this time around, however. In terms of his vantage point from the ‘other’ side of the mat as well as the performance of his young squad as they turned in an impressive all-around performance in besting the Spartans 68-12, it was a new experience for the veteran coach.
“It’s quite a bit different sitting on this side,” said Stewart. “There’s so many memories that flood back to me being here. Now I’m somewhere new and looking to do the same thing within the county: it’s all about building a program.”
That building has come along a little slower than Stewart would like this season, however, as his squad that began the season with 29 freshmen and sophomores, entered the match having not quite met its coach’s lofty expectations.
That changed Thursday night as the Pirates (9-2, 3-1) took eight of the 10 matches held including six pins.
They said it
Corinth Holders is the Two Rivers defending champion but an earlier loss to Western Harnett looks to have put the Pirates out of the race for first. For the better part of a month, Corinth Holders has been looking to find its edge once again.
“We haven’t wrestled well for the past three weeks and tonight was a turning point,” Stewart said. “We had the discussion tonight before we came in here on the bus that we need to turn the corner and get back to our fundamentals and wrestle better and, as a whole, we did that tonight.”
In the 132-pound weight division, Smithfield-Selma’s Michael Aguilar and the Pirates’ Zack McAllister were quite obviously evenly matched.
Through the first two periods, all that separated the two wrestlers was a single point: a second period escape by McAllister. In the final minute in the final period, however, McAllister finally was able to get his worthy opponent to the ground for a takedown and near-fall that gave McAllister to 6-0 decision.
At 220, it only took Larry Williams 38 seconds to bulldoze his way to record his pin and subsequent six points for his Corinth Holders side.
Corinth Holders’ winners
In addition to Williams, Isaac Cook (120), Alex Staples (145), Kenaz Duck (152), Trey Black (160) and Frankie Miller (285) all won their bouts by recording pins.
In the 170-pound division, the Pirates’ Seamus Brennan was in complete control from the start as he recorded a technical fall, defeating his opponent 15-0.
Brian Hine (106), Dustin Styons (138), Noah Vasquez (182) and Daniel Strong (182) all were victors through Smithfield-Selma (2-9, 0-4) forfeits.
Junior Anthony Masterton recorded his fastest pin of the season after just 45 seconds in the opening period of his 113-pound match. Senior co-captain Malek Josey similarly dominated his match with a first period pin of his opponent at 126.
“We’re relatively young,” said Smithfield-Selma coach Craig Faircloth of his team that starts four freshmen in the 10 classes that he has been able to fill. “Our smaller weight classes are figuring out what it’s all about.”