It hasn’t particularly been a season for the record books for a proud wrestling program in Reservoir, but Tuesday night’s home victory will certainly be remembered.
The Gators knocked off rival River Hill, 36-28, for just the third time in program history, with the others coming in 2008 and their state championship season of 2010.
Though both teams won seven bouts, bonus points proved to be the difference, as Reservoir (4-6 county, 7-14 overall) notched four pins, a technical fall and a major. River Hill (3-6, 8-13) earned bonus points in only three matches, including a forfeit.
“We’ve been talking about it since the South River Duals, when they beat us on criteria,” said Gators coach Andy McIntyre. “It’s been something we had circled. We didn’t look past any of the other teams we wrestled ... but we’ve been pushing how important it is to get this win. It’s not every year you’re in a good spot to beat River Hill, so when you have those chances you have to take advantage.”
Reservoir trailed by 12 when it caught fire and scored the next 25 points on five straight victories. Heavyweight Tyler Ecker needed 5:12 to pin the Hawks’ Brett Schwab, but freshman Matt Sims (106 pounds) took only 16 seconds to secure a pin that gave the Gators a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Kaz Okomoto (113) scored some late near fall points to secure a 12-3 major decision, and Reese Kilcarr followed with another quick pin, this one in 43 seconds.
“We’ve been preaching to the guys bonus points, bonus points, bonus points ... that was the difference,” McIntyre said. “We only gave up bonus points in two matches tonight and one came with the match already locked up and another was our JV kid [Justin Lee] who took down Kenny Dustin twice.”
River Hill coach Kevin Cannon said he liked some things he saw from his young team but agreed that the pins were the difference in the outcome.
“We kept it in a winnable range with five guys out. We’ve got guys bumped — not that they don’t — but there were some good things that came out,” he said. “But we work real hard to go out there and then roll over and lose the lead.”
Gabe Vineyard (126) stopped the Hawks’ losing skid with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Connor Tayman, who was wrestling in his first match since Dec. 13 after battling mononucleosis. But Reservoir’s Hayoung Park (132) extended the lead again by pinning Billy Szeliga in 1:05 with a headlock.
Dustin (138) cut River Hill’s deficit to 10 — 31-21 — with a pin, but it was too little too late for the Hawks. Gators junior Todd Del Tufo won via 16-1 technical fall in 4:00 to give his team large enough to secure the victory with two matches left.
“I think we’re starting to hit our stride and starting to understand — we still have Marriotts Ridge and Arundel on the schedule, but we’re in tournament mode,” McIntyre said. “Regional duals went bye-bye a long time ago, so we’re really focusing on getting ready for the postseason.”
McIntyre added that he is excited about his team’s potential in the postseason and that four wrestlers — Sims, Kilcarr, Del Tufo and Ecker — should be aiming to win county titles.
“Tyler has already beaten basically everyone in the county, Todd is hanging around and doing really well again this season,” he said. “Reese is feeling a little more comfortable with himself at 120 and Matt is having a great season. Hayoung, too; I love seeing him do well because he wrestles so well in the practice room.”
River Hill will finish up its regular season tournament schedule this weekend at the Battle at the Bay at St. Michael’s High School on the Eastern Shore. Cannon hopes his team will continue to grow and enter the midterm week on a positive note.
“I want them to just go in with a clean, fresh slate,” he said. “They’ve been training for it and I’m excited for it.”
Reservoir (4-6 county, 7-14 overall) — 36, River Hill (3-6, 8-13) — 28
170: Zach Wasilewski (RH) fft. [0-6]
182: Pablo Sandoval (RH) dec. Keyshawn Cassie (Re), 4-3 [0-9]
195: Andrew Murray (RH) dec. Ben Howe (Re), 4-3 [0-12]
220: Aries Shakleford (Re) dec. Josh Minn (RH), 4-3 [3-12]
285: Tyler Ecker (Re) pinned Brett Schwab (RH), 5:12 [9-12]
106: Matt Sims (Re) pinned Eric Norris (RH), 0:16 [15-12]
113: Kaz Okomoto (Re) major dec. Eric Robinson (RH), 12-3 [19-12]
120: Reese Kilcarr (Re) pinned Matt Greenlee (RH), 0:43 [25-12]
126: Gabe Vineyard (RH) dec. Connor Tayman (Re), 4-2 [25-15]
132: Hayoung Park (Re) pinned Billy Szeliga (RH), 1:05 [31-15]
138: Kenny Dustin (RH) pinned Justin Lee (Re), 3:09 [31-21]
145: Todd Del Tufo (Re) tech fall Ryan Kelly (RH), 16-1 [36-21]
152: Brad Smith (RH) major dec. Jairo Dumas (Re), 12-4 [36-25]
160: Mahmoud Elansary (RH) dec. Connor Harvey (Re), 4-0 [36-28]