It’s almost late December, and for many wrestling teams that means establishing a firm lineup by having their grapplers ease into their respective weight classes before the new year brings a new focus.
South Carroll and Westminster were in similar positions Wednesday. And even though they came out on top 44-30 behind six pins, the Cavaliers say they’re still a work in progress.
“We’re almost there,” said SC coach Matt Thomas. “We’ve still got a couple guys coming down to weight, a couple guys battling a little bit of injuries. This is the first real weight cut … it’s going to take a little time to adjust.”
The Cavs (3-2) won their Carroll County Athletic League opener led by those half-dozen pins — Pat Quinn started the decking at 285 pounds, and he was followed by Anthony Bond (113), Jake Rippeon (126), Tyler Harbison (145), Steven Dahl (160), and Antonio Bradford (170).
Dahl and Bradford pinned their Owls opponents in succession to seal the dual-meet win for South Carroll.
Westminster (1-7, 0-1) got pins from Tyler Beaver (120) and Nate Seibel (195), along with two forfeit wins, but fell behind early and couldn’t recover.
Credit some of that to South Carroll’s more solidified lineup, said senior Cam Werner.
“We’re all cutting, we’re all at our weights that we’re going to be for the rest of the season,” said Werner, who won 7-2 at 138 pounds. “We’re looking good.”
Werner pointed to some underclassmen who have found their way early on — freshmen Ryan Athey (106), who posted a technical fall Wednesday, and Bond at the top of the lineup; Rippeon, a sophomore, in the middle; and fellow sophomore Bradford toward the bottom.
Westminster fielded its share of sophomores Wednesday, and coach Mike Flemming said competing against CCAL opponents early in the season is always tough. The Owls host Manchester Valley on Thursday.
“At this point we’re still … four kids away from having our lineup,” Flemming said. “It’s a matter of preparing as well as you can.”
Chase Buckwalter (152) and Marley Warfield (182), both seniors, each posted wins for the Owls.
South Carroll is off until next week, when the Cavaliers are in the field at the Damascus holiday tournament. They open 2019 on Jan. 2 with a CCAL tri-match against Man Valley and Francis Scott Key.
Plenty of time to tweak and refine, Werner and Thomas said.
“It’s all a learning experience,” Thomas said. “As a group, everyone is finally finding [out] where they want to be postseason wise. It is still December. Once we hit the new year I think we’re really going to be grinding on all gears.”