Monday, February 10, 2014
The fleeting feeling of victory in the early rounds of the Class 4A state wrestling playoffs can disappear quicker than it comes.
Less than two hours after knocking off Beaufort in the opening round of the SCHSL playoffs Saturday, the hosting Wando Warriors were eliminated on their home mat by Dutch Fork in the second round.
“It's tough but that's the way it happens,” Wando head coach Adam Schneider said. “We had some matches we thought we should've won but we didn't. We were set up the way we wanted to be, within shooting range.”
Wando jumped on Beaufort early in the opening match with pins by Ryan Williams at 182 pounds and Zola Davis at 195 pounds to take a 21-6 lead. Beaufort answered with a 24-4 run through the next six matches with pins at 113 and 120 pounds.
Schneider shuffled parts of his lineup before the playoffs, including moving senior Ben Crutchfield from 138 pounds to 132. With Wando trailing by one point entering the final match, Crutchfield picked up a dominant pin to lift the Warriors to a 31-30 win.
“It was a gamble, and it paid off,” Schneider said. “He's one of those guys we know we can count on. He knew he had to pin to win. He told us at the beginning of the match he was going to get six points for us and he did, even with all the pressure.”
Thirty minutes later, Wando was back on the mat against Region V No. 3 seed Dutch Fork in the second round. The Warriors struggled early, falling to pin in the final 10 seconds at 182 pounds to drop behind 21-6.
Wando charged back with a pin at 195 pounds by Zola Davis, followed by a win at 220 by Hunter Allen, and a pin at 285 by Love Scott to tie the match at 21. Dutch Fork stopped the rally with a win at 106 and a pin at 113. Wando fell to pin four times against Dutch Fork but still entered the final match with a chance to tie, trailing by 33-27. Needing a pin, the Warriors came very close to getting it but had to settle on a three-point win instead in a 33-30 loss.
“Obviously, we're not happy about the way the season ended, we're disappointed but it's been a good season,” Schneider said. “Dutch Fork is a tough team. Hats off to them. It's something for us to build on. Our second-round matches haven't been close in past years and we had a chance to win it today.”
Duals are over for Wando but the season continues for 12 Warriors set to compete in the upcoming Lower State tournament. Crutchfield (132 pounds), Alex Cullen (120), Brandon Robinson (170), Darren Scott (106), Rob McAdams (138), Joey Paragano (145), Tyler Egonut (152), Jeremy Petit (160) Ryan Williams (182), Davis (195), Allen (220), and Scott (285) will all compete after finishing in the top three of their respective weight classes in the Region VII tournament last week.
“We still have a lot of work to do but I think we could have a strong showing,” Schneider said. “As far as conditioning and stuff like that, we're where we want to be. We're going to try to fix a few small things but we should have some of our individuals make it to state.”