WOODSIDE – Often, wrestling coaches on both sides of a dual meet know who is going to win most of the matches.
It’s the battles that could go either way that make the difference, and Polytech found a difference maker on Wednesday night.
Freshman Avery Mayan rallied from an early deficit and gritted out an 8-2 decision over Cape Henlopen sophomore Kaden Greenlee to earn the clinching points in the Panthers’ 33-24 home win.
“Mayan, who closed it out for us, was huge,” Polytech coach Eric Buckson said. “That’s a tossup match, and he ends up on top. That’s huge, and that’s a freshman.”
Mayan had enough experience to adjust his tactics.
“I tried to work my top and bottom game, because I couldn’t beat him standing,” he said. “It was a lot of pressure, because I was the second-to-last match. If I lost, the team could have lost.”
The biggest cheer of the night went up from the Polytech bench when Mayan finished his match.
“It was exciting. It was really exciting,” Mayan said. “I didn’t think I would win, to be honest.”
The Panthers (4-0, 3-0 Henlopen North), ranked second in Division I, expected a tough match from the third-ranked Vikings (3-1, 2-1), and they got it. Polytech won eight of the 14 matches, with Cape winning six.
J.J. Currie scored the Vikings’ only pin of the night in the opening match at 170, only to see Polytech’s Mark Mullnack (220) and Derek Reigle (285) turn the tide with their team’s only pins back-to-back.
“I knew it was going to be a close match,” Cape coach Chris Mattioni said. “I knew it was going to come down to pins, and not getting pinned. Unfortunately, we gave up more pins.”
But the Vikings had their moments, including an impressive, 9-1 major decision by Emerson Fajardo over Austin Price at 106 pounds.
“When we wrapped around to 106, Polytech has a quality kid and my kid is tough, too,” Mattioni said. “I knew that was going to be a good match. I’m so proud of Emerson to go out there and get a major. He had a heck of a match.”
Cape also won two of the closest matches of the night, as Max Norquest rallied with a takedown and near fall in the final 20 seconds for an 11-7 decision at 120, and Vinny Diego earned a wild, 17-16 decision at 138. The Vikings also got major decisions from Nick Diego (145) and Cory Lawson (160).
But Polytech proved to be too much, with some unexpected contributions.
“As a unit, when some guys didn’t quite get it done who we usually expect to, we had other guys step up,” Buckson said. “That’s the only reason we carried the ‘W’ out of here, because of that.”
Spenser Hahn (113), Jankiel Drane (126) and Andy Schmeusser (132) scored major decisions for the Panthers, and Austin Rains (182) and Justin Land (195) both gutted out 7-4 decisions for Polytech.
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ