Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Pinewood Prep hosted the SCISA Wrestling State Duals Saturday.
A Panther team still very much in the development stages placed third in the competition, which was held for the first time in Edison Gym. Pinewood, now in its second season of wrestling, faced Cardinal Newman, Hammond, Heathwood Hall, Ridge Christian, Orangeburg Prep, Ben Lippen, and Augusta Christian.
In the first round the Panthers faced crosstown rival Ridge Christian, a team that held the forth seed for the tournament and had already beaten the Panthers twice this year in very close matches. This time however, Pinewood had everyone down to weight and the team came out fired up to win the first four head to head matches. Pinewood gave up three forfeits but came out on top in eight of 10 other matches to claim a 49-27 victory. Earning pins were: Matthew Latham, Steven Kennedy, Brad Richards, Grayson Charpia, Cameron Poaps and Clayton Are. Mills Rowland stepped up and earned a 4-2 decision over seasoned Ridge Christian wrestler Bryce Gibson.
In the next match Pinewood faced top-seeded Cardinal Newman, which went on to claim the state championship.
“Giving up 18 points in forfeits, the stars had to align perfectly for us to win,” Pinewood coach Ben Cheatham said. “We had some hard-fought matches, but lost 45-30.”
One of the hardest-fought matches of the day was in the 132-pound division between Pinewood’s Steven Kennedy and Jack Patten. After the first two minutes of wrestling, Kennedy was down 4-1. In the second period, Kennedy wrestled back to go up 6-5 but also sustained a leg injury during this period.
Using up all of his injury time he elected to continue wrestling and at the end of regulation the score was tied at 9. It came down to sudden death overtime and Kennedy secured the first takedown to bring the hometown crowd to its feet and win the match 11-9. Also getting wins in this match were: Matthew Latham, Alex Nelson, Brad Richards, Grayson Charpia and Cameron Poaps.
Pinewood faced Orangeburg Prep in the first round consolation match. The Panthers matched up really well against them and won 59-24 to reach the consolation championship match against Heathwood Hall.
There was a little rivalry in the match against the Highlanders as Pinewood Headmaster and assistant coach Steve Mandell was previously employed by Heathwood Hall and had admitted several of the wrestlers into their school. Pinewood came out strong with their two anchors, Austin Murphy and Matthew Latham, both securing pins. Several forfeits were swapped and then at 160 first-year wrestler Alex Nelson was pinned by Nick Burch. That tied the score at 24.
Nelson didn’t come out for wrestling until December of this season when he found out he could help the Panthers fill a void in their lineup.
“He has come a long way in just seven weeks of wrestling,” Cheatham said.
At 170, Brad Richards met Carter Parkey. Richards had been nursing an injured ankle all week but managed to pull out a 12-8 victory in the critical match.
At 182, Heathwood Hall took the lead 30-26 for the first time in the match when Jack Scott pinned Samuel Yun. At 195, Grayson Charpia secured a decision and brought Pinewood back within a point 30-29.
With two matches left and Heathwood Hall not having a 220-pound wrestler, Pinewood elected to concede that match as a double forfeit and neither team receiving any points. Pinewood bumped senior and team captain Cameron Poaps to decide the final outcome of the match.
“Poaps has been wrestling strong all season with a record of 27-3 going into this match,” Cheatham said. “He had also wrestled at 285 last year so he knew how to wrestle against the extra weight.”
In the first period Poaps came out and took down Heathwood’s Ben Wilson and pinned him in 24 seconds to secure a 35-30 Pinewood victory.
“We could not be more pleased with the way our guys wrestled on Saturday; beating two teams that had both defeated us twice in the regular season,” Cheatham said. “This Saturday we travel to Cardinal Newman for the individual state championships where Pinewood could easily come home with many medals if they all “WRESTLE.”