APEX – The turnaround is complete for the Fuquay-Varina High School wrestling team.
The Bengals clinched fourth place in the Tri-Nine 4A Conference after a 45-28 victory over Apex in their league finale on Jan. 30 at Apex High School.
Fuquay-Varina, which finished eighth in the conference last season, picked up a majority of their points (30) with five forfeits. Apex, which has not won a match this year, performed well in the nine contested matches, outscoring the Bengals 28-15.
“I thought we wrestled better even though we had a couple of guys out tonight,” said first-year Fuquay coach Ed Petrosky. “Overall, I am happy with the win. We were eighth in the conference last year and we only lost three conference matches this year (Cary, Holly Springs and Panther Creek). That’s what we wanted was to improve and we did.”
The trend of being competitive in weight classes where they had wrestlers continued for the Cougars. But the five forfeits did Apex in.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of turnout this year; we only have 18 on the entire team,” said Apex coach Ross Little. “So we are missing guys in those weight classes. We are a mixture of very young mixed with experienced seniors.
“We gave them 30 points and lost by 17. You try not to worry (about the forfeits) because you can’t coach what you don’t have and we can’t control that. We try to be positive and win more head-to-head matches as our motivation. The guys we do have, we want them to wrestle well.”
Jamel Avery got Fuquay on the board with a 3-0 decision over Mark Crider at 126 pounds. Apex then took a 4-3 lead after Joseph Furtick blanked Taylor Highsmith 11-0 at 132.
The teams split the next two matches, both by pinfall – Jonny Tapia defeated Sinjin Samaluk at 2:58 of the second period at 138 for a 9-4 Bengals’ lead, then Apex regained the advantage, 10-9, when Daniel Krakowski put John Hart’s shoulders to the mat at 3:21 of the second period in the 145-pound match.
Fuquay then extended its lead to 30-10 with three forfeits – Eric Wilburg at 152, Yusef Shabazz at 160 and Roelvis Vargas at 182, and a 9-7 decision by William Thompson over Jordan Woertman at 170.
The Cougars sliced the deficit to eight points, 30-22, when Jake Castagnero pinned Colton Parker in the 195 match and Farrell DiAnni pinned Julius Figeroa at 220.
Grayson Booker (heavyweight) and Chris Confessore (106) both won by forfeit to make it 42-22 Bengals, ending the Cougars’ chances of an upset.
Apex won at 113 when Chance Davis pinned Evans, but the Bengals picked up the final three points of the match when Preston Lee decisioned Ryan Whitehouse 1-0 at 120 pounds.