- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
North Point wrestling tops H-town for fourth time in five years
By AJ MASON
Thus far, head coach Rich Pauole and the North Point wrestling team has had a grueling schedule to start the 2012-13 season.
On Tuesday night, it didn’t get any easier for the Eagles as they hosted SMAC foe Huntingtown, but they passed the test.
The two teams were tied through the first six bouts, but North Point exploded on a 13-point run to open the floodgates and would hold off Huntingtown in a 34-23 victory.
It was the fourth time in the last five meetings that North Point has defeated Huntingtown in the regular season.
“The word of the night is grind. Our kids are going to grind it out no matter what every time they come on the mat and tonight we did that versus a very good team in Huntingtown,” Pauole said. “We wrestled well and we just have to continue to be mentally tough.”
Coming off a fifth-place finish at the Glenn Jones Charger Classic last weekend at Lackey High School, Tuesday’s win gave the Eagles (11-1 overall, 3-1 SMAC) momentum into this weekend’s dual meet tournament at La Plata High School, which kicks off at 2:45 p.m. today when they face River Hill of Howard County. Action will continue all day Saturday in the nine-team tournament.
Huntingtown (2-1, 2-1), which suffered its first loss of the season, trimmed North Point’s lead to 31-21 on a 12-9 victory by decision from junior Collin Officer in the 160-pound weight class.
With Huntingtown needing bonus points, along with victories in the final two bouts to win the match, North Point senior Collin Schirf would help clinch the victory in the 170-pound bout versus last year’s SMAC champion and fifth-place Class 4A-3A state tournament finisher Colton Rowe.
Schirf and Rowe, also a senior, battled after two periods and Rowe had a 7-6 lead into the waning seconds of the third period. Schirf then executed a crucial takedown as time expired to win the bout by an 8-7 decision and give North Point a 34-21 lead.
For Schirf, it was his first time ever beating Rowe.
“It was a close match when I wrestled him last year at the SMAC tournament,” Schirf said. “I knew I had to keep working. I couldn’t let him get any bonus points. Toward the end of the third period, I just saw an opportunity and took it. This was definitely a huge win for and helps us with regional rankings. This was a morale booster and gives us some confidence.”
Huntingtown head coach Kevin Gilligan was then called for unsportsmanlike conduct and his team was deducted one point. Hurricanes sophomore Tristan Ramberg defeated North Point senior Ben Kettner 10-7 in the final bout of the night, but it wasn’t enough.
“Congratulations to North Point,” Gilligan said. “We just got beat [tonight]. That’s all I have to say.”
North Point’s Justin Onuwuebu-Guy started off with a 7-3 win at 195 in the opening bout, while Hurricanes senior Zack Walker earned a win by decision at 220. Huntingtown won two of the next three bouts on pins from junior Dalonte Holland (285) and sophomore Jacob Wood (113). Junior Sam Woodburn collected a first-period pin for North Point at 106.
“Before the match, I didn’t know what would happen at 106 or 195,” Pauole said. “After the first six weight classes, we were tied. We got some good quality wins in our weight classes tonight. We are trying peak now and before the postseason tournaments.”
With Huntingtown up 15-9, the Eagles would win the next three bouts as junior Dominick Summers (120) and senior Nick Cutter (132) earned six points via pins, then junior Kyle Gascon picked up a victory by decision in the 126 bout.
“I waited until the third period when he [Brett Skinner] was tired and I wore him down,” said Cutter, who is on the wrestling team for the first time since his freshman year. “This was fairly a big win for us. Everyone came out and did their thing.”
Eagles senior Malachi Edmond surged to 17-5 victory at 138 over senior Matt Clark to up the lead to 28-15. North Point junior Tyler Morgan and Huntingtown junior Colt Constantino eked out close wins at 145 and 152, respectively.