NC’s Frey loses track of bouts left, then Riley pinfall caps stunner over Decatur
RIDGELY — Tim Frey lost track Wednesday night.
“To be honest I thought the meet was over after the 52-pound bout,” North Caroline High’s head wrestling coach said of the season opener against longtime power Stephen Decatur. “I thought the match was over. I told the boys to ‘Stand up. Let’s go shake hands.’ I forgot we still had 160 to wrestle.”
Less than 10 minutes later, Frey and Caroline’s bench were jumping for joy after Tyler Riley’s pinfall with 21 seconds remaining in the final period of the final match gave the Bulldogs a riveting 38-34 victor y over the Seahawks.
“This was a total shock,” Frey said.
Before shock set in though, there was discovery.
“I thought the match was over, and all of a sudden they said, ‘Riley’s going.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ So I felt like we had a chance at winning this thing now,” Frey said.
Riley sounded anything like a conquering hero, though.
“Just because I was the last match doesn’t mean I won it for the whole team,” Riley said. “I mean it was every single person out there; every single person that went out on the mat.”
But on this night, it just so happened Riley was the last Bulldog on the mat.
“I was just trying to stay focused, do what I normally do in practice all the time; what we keep drilling,” Riley said.
Leading 32-24 with three matches remaining, Caroline forfeited to Decatur’s Andy McKahan at 145, then watched Jaron Purnell’s 17-8 major decision over Trenton Hillard push the Seahawks in front, 34-32.
That brought up Riley, who was taken down 31 seconds into his match with Lukas Layton. Riley trimmed his deficit to 2-1, then, working off bottom to start the second period, rallied for a 4-2 lead. Riley maintained his twopoint cushion heading into the third, and starting up, rode Layton before turning him for the fall in 5:39.
“First period, he was being pretty aggressive,” Riley said. “He was keeping his distance. I was trying to close the distance. I was trying to look for a shot the whole time, just work on what I usually do.
“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to pin him,” Riley added. “When I pinned him it was all really quick.”
With a team seemingly divided between a solid group of seasoned wrestlers and a group with little experience, Frey thought his team was a heavy underdog against the Seahawks. But in the end, Decatur head coach Todd Martinek wasn’t surprised.
“I knew it was going to be a tight dual meet,” Martinek said. “And I knew every mistake and move was going to matter. I knew it was going to come down to maybe one match and one move.
“I was kind of surprised it would come down to 60,” Martinek said. “I thought somebody would have it solved by then. But I had confidence in Lukas Layton but he didn’t have the gas. Riley wanted it. Riley wanted it more. He was in better shape and he deserved the win. They outwrestled us tonight.”
The match started at 170 pounds, where North Caroline’s Tyler Bauer pinned Jacob Caple in 47 seconds. Two matches later, the Bulldogs were leading 15-0 after Alex Grable pinned Alan Means in 2:46 at 182, and Alex Eaton got a takedown at the edge of the circle midway through the third period for a 5-4 decision over Caleb Bourne at 195.
A little over three minutes later, the Seahawks were within 15-12, as Jian Joobeen pinned Noah Schall in 2:17 at 220, and Ean Spencer earned a 46-second fall over Jarrett Cooper.
Then, in what Martinek and Frey considered a swing match between a pair of freshmen at 106, North Caroline’s Reilly McIntyre built a 7-2 lead before pinning Austin Miller in 4:44.
Cade Solito’s 44-second fall over Cody Groves at 113, pulled Decatur back within three at 21-18.
The Bulldogs got a somewhat unexpected pairing at 120, where Ryan Bauer faced Josh Lawson, instead of Robert Kaminski. Struggling to escape Lawson’s tight-waist ride through the second period, Bauer held a 1-0 lead heading into the third, then took advantage of small openings for a 7-0 decision that nudged North Caroline ahead, 2418.
“He finally found a little niche, the little mistake the guy made and then Ryan scored the point,” Frey said. “And then when that guy got behind he had pressure and go for other things, which opened up things for Ryan.”
Kaminski’s pinfall over Rhian Silsley with 7 seconds left in the first period forged a 24-24 tie.
The Bulldogs then got two pivotal victories. Brandon McIntyre fell behind 2-0, before reeled off the next six points en route to a 9-5 win over Jeremy Danner at 132. Seth Layton (138) followed with an impressive 18-3 technical fall over Marquel Trower that extended Caroline’s lead to 32-24 with three bouts left.
“I almost think we just had a couple of kids that wanted it just a little bit more in some of the close matches,” Frey said. “And we pulled off a match here and a match there.
“I think also being at home, I think that might have helped in a couple of those very, very close matches, where our fans really got into it,” Frey added. “And our boys felt the energy from the fans and might have pushed just a little bit harder to get that one takedown, or one escape, or one reversal or whatever it was to win the match.”
North Caroline’s Seth Layton, right, ties up with Stephen Decatur’s Marquel Trower during Wednesday night’s 138-pound match. Layton won with an 18-3 technical fall.