The Reservoir Gators entered the gym at Hammond High School on Tuesday confident that they could solve the problem that cost them a tournament title the past weekend at the Tuscarora’s Titans Thunder Classic.
In a match that both teams won seven matches, the difference came down to which team could score more bonus points.
“We talk about it all the time on our practice room, that matches like these will come down to bonus points,” Reservoir Coach Andy McIntrye said. “We prevented them and got them on our own today and that’s huge.”
With the match starting at 171-pounds, Reservoir won the coin-toss, which forced Hammond to send their wrestler first. Reservoir sent Travis Woodard out at 171 with the hope he could deliver and decided to bump state-champion Mark Colabucci up to wrestle at 189.
Woodard, usually a JV wrestler, stepped in and pinned his opponent in the second period. It didn’t seem anything at the time because it was the first match, but Coach McIntyre knew how important that pin was for the one-point team victory.
“Travis came up huge with that pin. He is kind of a secret but he wrestles really hard and is as strong as an Ox,” McIntyre said. “That won us the match.”
A smaller Mark Colabucci secured a 19-4 technical fall over Hammond’s 189-pounder Kyle Harrington to continue his dominance and give the Gators an 11-0 lead.
Hammond bounced back with a pin at 215, but Reservoir’s Josh Hamilton answered back with a 40-second pin of his own, making the lead 17-6.
After the Golden Bears forfeited at 103, the Gators’ freshman 112-pounder Hans Wicklein secured the pin with less than one second left in the second period to add to their lead.
The difference in the match may have come during the 119-pound bout between Reservoir’s senior Eric Lee and Hammond’s Andrew Neuman. Lee held a 6-2 lead in the second period, but Neuman fought back to score the tying takedown with 10 seconds left, forcing overtime.
A junior varsity County and District 5 champion last season at 112-pounds, Lee was exhausted but desperate to win the match for his team. Early in the first overtime, Lee secured the winning takedown on a vicious headlock, a move he has never executed in a match before today.
“I knew I had two stalling calls on me so as soon as he pushed into me, I went for it,” Lee said. “I felt it coming and I had nothing to lose so I just hipped in and went with it.”
Reservoir Coach Andy McIntyre thought Lee’s match was crucial for the team win and for especially Lee, who has admittedly been lacking in confidence recently.
“Sometimes Eric (Lee) is a little scared by the situation, but he got that big win and had that really nice headlock at the end,” Coach McIntyre said. “Any one of those matches you could say put us over the top but I think it was Eric’s as much as any.”
Hammond Coach Jason Freiert agreed.
“The 119 overtime match, I mean, that hurt us,” Freiert said.
Reservoir’s lead grew to 32-6 after Lee’s win but Hammond knew they weren’t out of it yet with the heart of their lineup still to come.
Hammond’s Matt Beck scored a major decision over Reservoir’s Michael Ponton and 130-pounder Mundey pinned for the Golden Bears, cutting the lead to 32-16.
The match of the evening was at 135-pounds when Hammond’s junior state qualifier Jonathan Goodwin faced off against the Gator’s tough sophomore, Seth Rowell.
Down 5-3 in the third period, Rowell was hopeful to have a similar result he had this weekend when he was down by the same score and rallied a third period comeback against Tuscarora’s Matt Wax for the 8-5 win in the finals.
However, this time, Rowell could not pull off the comeback.
Rowell scored an escape and a takedown to take a 6-5 lead before Goodwin secured an escape of his own to force overtime.
In overtime, Rowell shot for a sweep single and locked on a leg but Goodwin was able to defend it and turn it into a takedown of his own to win the match, 8-6.
“I lost to him in counties last year by one point so I was focused on getting the first takedown and after that just work on my moves.” Goodwin said.
In overtime, Goodwin never panicked when Rowell got in on a single leg with a deep shot. “I was really working on my whizzer and I made sure that when he was trying to limp arm out that I just got over top of him and got the takedown.”
“He (Goodwin) wrestled over 100 matches in the off-season. He didn’t go to Fargo or anywhere like that, but he wrestled in just about every off-season tournament, a bunch in Pennsylvania and Virginia, too,” Freiert said.
“I am expecting him to be top three at states and hopefully winning it. We bumped him up to 140 this weekend to wrestle Ben Culver of Easton, who I think is ranked number one in the state in 2A-1A right now, and he lost in triple overtime. I think he can go toe-to-toe with anybody at his weight.”
With a 32-19 lead, Gator’s senior 140-pounder James Mullens halted Hammond’s comeback, scoring a 10-4 decision over Raven Coleman-Brooks.
“At 140, we thought he definitely had a shot. He (Coleman-Brooks) is a tough kid and he’s just a goer, goer, goer, so we thought we could get that one there.”
Hammond, down 16 heading into the 145-pound bout, needed some pins to complete the comeback.
Hammond’s Bryan Overton pinned Reservoir freshman Donavan Peek but the Golden Bear’s 152-pounder Mathias Ngang could not score more than a decision over the Gator’s David Kuper. That gave Reservoir a seven-point lead going into the last match of the night, securing the victory.
Coach Freiert wasn’t making any excuses about the loss, despite being short two normal starters, including heavyweight Payton Rose who is playing in an All-Star event for football this weekend.
“We are going to be a totally different team by the end of the season.” Freiert said.
Long Reach also wrestled in the tri-meet but only fielded a team of four varsity wrestlers.
Reservoir beat Long Reach, 84, -3 (Long Reach was deducted three team points for personal misconduct).
Reservoir 35, Hammond 34
103 — Kilcarr (R) wbf; (23-6, R)
112 — Wicklein (R) p. Nuss, 3:59; (29-6, R)
119 — Lee (R) d. Neuman, 9-7 OT (32-6, R)
125 — Beck (H) maj. Ponton, 10-2 (32-10, R)
130 — Mundy (H) p. Garcia, 4:52; (32-16, R)
135 — Goodwin (H) d. Rowell, 8-6 OT (32-19, R)
140 — Mullens (R) d. Coleman-Brooks, 10-4 (35-19, R)
145 — Overton (H) p. Peek, 1:57; (35-25, R)
152 — Ngang (H) d. Kuper, 3-2; (35-28, R)
160 — Kelly (H) p. Herberger, 2:19; (35-34, R)
*171 — Woodard (R) p. Shrestha, 1:09; (6-0, R)
189 — Colabucci (R) tf. Harrington, 19-4 (11-0, R)
215 — Asala (H) p. Herlihy, 5:20; (11-6, R)
285 — Hamilton (R) p. Jackson, :40; (17-6, R)
Hammond 74, Long Reach 0
103 — Nuss (H) wbf;
112 — Double forfeit;
119 — Neuman (H) wbf;
125 — Beck (H) wbf;
130 — Mundy (H) tf. Conner, 16-1;
135 — Goodwin (H) tf. Freedman, 18-2;
140 — Low (H) wbf;
145 — Coleman-Brooks (H) p. Ellis, :42;
*152 — Overton (H) wbf;
160 — Ngang (H)
maj. Hristor, 12-3;
171 — Kelly (H) wbf;
189 — Harrington (H) wbf;
215 — Anuh (H) wbf;
285 — Asala (H) wbf;