LEXINGTON, Va. — - - -
In a back-and-forth battle by two teams from the NAIA East Region, the Golden Bears fell to the visiting Knights of St. Andrews Presbyterian College, 25-21, last week. The teams evenly split the 10 bouts wrestled, with the difference coming from additional bonus points scored by St. Andrews.
At 125 pounds, Chauncey Foster (SA) converted a Peterson roll into a fall for St. Andrews over freshman Denis Robles-Gomez. At 133, Golden Bear freshman Alfred Martinez scored with one second left on the clock to take a 6-5 decision. St. Andrews stormed back, scoring a pair of back-to-back falls at 141 and 149 and jumping out to a commanding 18-3 team score.
Tech senior captain John Walters began the rally with a 7-0 decision over Brandon Eldridge. With that win, Walters moved to 13-3 on the season. Co-captain Dirk Ponchak (16-1) converted his leg attack into a cradle and finished off Djemson Villard with a body press for a first period fall in the 165-pound bout. The Golden Bears’ comeback was dealt a difficult blow at 174 when Colton Rowe couldn’t make his two takedowns stand up and was hit with a technical violation at the end of the third period to lose 5-4.
At 184 the day’s highest-scoring match was a battle between nationally-ranked freshman Tola Morakinyo and St. Andrews’ Dejaunte Pabellon. Morakinyo jumped out to a 10-2 lead early in the first period on the strength of a pair of takedowns and two sets of backpoints. Pabellon battled back, and at the start of the third period the score drew to within 13-9. Morakinyo used a leg attack to drive Pabellon to his back and score the fall.
With the score 21-18 in favor of St. Andrews, freshman Terry Nance used a pair of takedowns and a pair of escapes to earn a 6-3 victory over Jared Key. Nance’s three team points tied the match at 21-21 going into the heavyweight match. Unfortunately for the Golden Bears the comeback victory was not to be, as nationally-ranked Denzel Vaughn earned a major decision over freshman Wyatt Norfolk.
“I told the guys that the match would come down to bonus points and it did. I did not expect three of our first four guys to get pinned. When you are starting eight freshmen, sometimes these things can get away from you. We did a good job battling back to tie it and taking a split in matches isn’t a bad thing,” said Gardner.
(Brouse is the WVU Tech sports information director.)