Rylan Moose clinched a victory for South Carroll’s wrestling team when the Cavaliers faced Manchester Valley during the 2020 regular season, a dual meet that came down to the final bout.
Moose was at it again this time around when the Cavs and Mavericks squared off Tuesday, one year and four days after their last showdown. The sophomore’s win at 170 pounds propelled South Carroll to a 37-36 victory, one that moved SC closer toward securing another Carroll County Athletic League championship.
“I just ... just wanted to win,” Moose said as he stood alongside teammate Austin Gidge, who preceded Moose with a victory of his own at 160. “The drive to win. You just have to win. [Man Valley] is the one team that we were looking forward to, ahead of our schedule, to focus on and practice for it. We came out and we wrestled, and we did pretty well.”
Moose’s win in the final match during the 2020 dual capped a 15-point comeback for South Carroll, and the Cavaliers prevailed 34-30. On Tuesday, the Cavs (6-0) surrendered 18 points on forfeits but along the way built a 37-12 lead that Moose punctuated with his third-period pin against MV’s Jonathon Bolt.
Gidge, who topped Connor Ryan 5-2 in the bout prior, said he gets that contagious feeling when teammates start piling up points.
“It’s that motivation,” Gidge said. “Just one match, one match is all you can do.”
Ryan Athey (120), AJ Rodrigues (145), and Jake Rippeon (152) also posted pins for South Carroll.
Travis Green’s pin against Anthony Bond at 132 gave Man Valley (3-2) an early lead, but the Mavs dropped six consecutive bouts and were mathematically out of it following Moose’s pin. The Mavericks finished strong, with late pins from Vinson Smith (195) and Grant Warner (285), and coach Dave Dodson said he was pleased with his team’s effort.
But seconds after the match ended, he held an index finger and thumb about an inch apart and said, “This close — again.”
“The kids handled themselves well. We gave ourselves a chance,” Dodson said. “Everybody fought.”
Manchester Valley missed out on the regular-season county title last winter before rallying to claim its first county tournament crown a few weeks later. The Mavericks also made a run to the Class 3A state dual-meet tournament finals, another program first.
South Carroll took the CCAL championship, however, thanks to a point system and its perfect in-county record. And the Cavaliers are trying to match the unbeaten mark once again this winter despite getting only eight regular-season matches in this COVID-modified schedule.
“This was the final piece of the puzzle,” SC coach Matt Thomas said. “We’ve scored a lot of points already, but we can’t let that be the set standard. We’ve got to come in here and finish the job.”