FUQUAY-VARINA - Fuquay-Varina’s wrestling team won the final four matches to defeat Tri-Nine Conference rival Green Hope 54-20 Thursday night at home.
The Bengals led 30-20 after GH’s Danny Hegeman won by decision at 120 pounds. Fuquay then won three matches by pin (126, 132 and 145) and one by forfeit (138) to secure the conference victory.
“We are strongest in our middle to upper weight classes,” said first-year Bengals’ coach Ed Petrosky, who took the job after moving from Pittsburgh, Pa., over the summer. “But when I came down, I noticed that the wrestlers had some really bad habits – elementary mistakes – things we teach kids up north not to do at a very young age.
“Once we started working on the basics and breaking those habits, we have our conditioning down and now we are really working on higher-level techniques and it has really shown up in their improvement.”
Fuquay (3-2 Tri-Nine, 4-2 overall) jumped out to an 18-0 lead with a pinfall win by Eric Wilberg at 152 and decisions by William Thompson at 160, Yusef Shabazz at 170 and Roelvis Vargas at 182.
Green Hope came back with wins at 195 (Ian Callahan) and 220 (Levi Womack by forfeit) to make it 18-12, but heavyweight Grayson Booker gave the Bengals a 24-12 advantage with his pinfall victory in overtime over Chad Mason.
The Falcons picked up five points when Michael Eastwood earned a major decision over Chris Confessore at 106 pounds, slicing the Fuquay lead to 24-17. Daniel Cockerill’s pinfall at 113 over Jourdan Leroux boosted the Bengals’ lead back to 13 points.
Green Hope pulled within 10 points on the decision by Hegeman, but the Bengals put away the visitors when Jamel Avery pinned Brendan Roess at 126 pounds and Taylor Highsmith did the same to Ryan Sollod in the 132-pounds match.
The home team completed the win as Drew O’Rourke took a forfeit at 138 and William Wheeler won by pin at 145 over Brian Messina.
“Green Hope has some very tough weight classes,” Petrosky said. “They are tough up top (heavier weights) and we are tough in our middle weights. That’s when you started seeing our team score go up.
Petrosky said his goals are to see match by match improvement and to eventually make the Bengals a perennial conference title contender again.
“Obviously I would like for it to happen right now,” he said, smiling. “We were eighth out of nine teams in the conference last year and now, hopefully we will finish in the top four this year…I will be very happy about that. Our boys work super hard every single day. The program has been in a slump the past eight or 10 years and we are on our way back. It won’t happen in one year or even four or five years. But 10 years down the road, there is no reason why we can’t be competitive with teams like Cary and Holly Springs.”