With a spot in the state playoffs on the line, Triton’s varsity wrestling team rallied from a 21-point deficit to take a 44-33 victory at Tri-County Six 3-A Conference foe and Harnett County rival Harnett Central on Wednesday to end the regular season.
The trip to the state playoffs will be Triton’s first as a team since 2003.
“We’re excited,” said Triton coach David Weathersby. “We kind of thought we’d have this as the outcome. A couple of matches went the opposite of what we thought it would be. We had a lot of fight in us tonight and we hadn’t been to the playoffs apparently since 2003. So, they were excited and ready to wrestle. Hats’ off to Harnett Central, because they fought their tails off and gave us a run for our money. But now we just wait to see who we get in the playoffs.”
Jordan Hardy, at 106 pounds, Nicholas Williams, at 145 pounds, Sawyer McLamb, at 152 pounds, Malachi Nettles, at 195 pounds, Xavion Richardson, at 220 pounds, at Michael Carvin, at 285 pounds, won by pin for the Hawks. Ro’mello Cowan won by injury forfeit. Diontae Smith won a 13-12 decision.
Carvin’s win improved his record to 34-1 on the season. The senior is now one victory shy of the 100-win milestone for his career.
McLamb’s win was his first non-forfeit win of the season and Weathersby said it was a major key to the Hawks winning.
“I’ve got to give it to Sawyer McLamb,” Weathersby said. “Hadn’t won a match all year and came up with the pin. He’s our MVP tonight and that kind of sealed the deal. It was great.”
Aidan Kuban, at 113 pounds won by pin, Matt Victoria, at 138 pounds, won an 8-1 decision and Nicholas Castner, at 120 pounds, Martin Mendez, at 126 pounds, Oscar Salazar, at 132 pounds, and Daniel Bain, at 160 pounds, won by forfeit for the Trojans.
Hardy, who left early at the Hawks’ match a week prior due to illness, started Triton off with a win to grab the initial lead.
“We knew they had a 106, but hadn’t been wrestling, so we were hopeful (Hardy) would be able to wrestle and he got a pin, so that was good,” Weathersby said.
But Kuban answered with a victory to tie the match and three straight forfeits put Central on top. Victoria’s win then pushed the lead to 27-6.
Williams scored a pin to halt the skid and McLamb followed with a dramatic victory. McLamb was on the verge of being pinned, but in the blink of an eye, was suddenly on top, with his opponent’s shoulders pinned to the man for the win.
“Nick Williams also led us with a big pin to get us back on the right track after we went through that slide midway through,” Weathersby.
Following another forfeit win for the Trojans, Central suffered an unfortunate loss when senior Efrain Balderas suffered an injury to his arm in his match against Cowan and was unable to continue.
The 182-pound bout between Smith and Central’s Jose Zambrano went down to the wire, with Smith just hanging on to take the narrow decision victory.
Nettles quickly scored a pin in his match to cut Central’s lead to just one and Richardson followed with a pin to give Triton the lead, setting up Carvin to close out the match with another pin to seal it for the Hawks.
“I know it sounds a little cocky, but when we get to Big Mike, we kind of know what the deal is,” Weathersby said. “He’s 34-1 for a reason and that was his 99th win. Hopefully during tournament time, he’ll get his 100th. He’s been a leader all night and all season.”
The Tri-County Six 3-A Conference tournament is Saturday, dual state meets begin Feb. 4 and individual regionals begin Feb. 14.