Coach Chris Mattioni crouched in front of the bench Dec. 4 watching his 25th year as head coach of Cape wrestling commence with seven straight bouts featuring freshmen and sophomores.
“We’re extremely young,” he said with no irony intended.
The Vikings roared to a 53-13 victory before heading to the Southern Slam in South Carolina this weekend.
Cape won all but three weight classes. The bout followed the light to heavy script starting at 106, where freshman Holt Baker lost a major decision 22-11 to Tyler Ratledge.
Josh Wright, a freshman, was on his back and close to gone at 113, but he got free from a precarious predicament and pinned Andrew Schaen in the third period.
“I knew there was a chance I could get beat, but no way I’m giving up six team points,” Wright said.
Brody Smith, 120, in his first varsity action, lost by pin to Cael Moyer 58 seconds into the first quarter.
“I knew that Moyer kid was tough,” said Mattioni.
Cape trailed 10-6 after three of 14 scheduled matches.
Freshman CJ Fritchman (126) won by major decision over Abdullah Agmad-Statts 12-0, then sophomore Carson Kammerer followed with a pin over Jack Timmons in 1:25. Cape led 16-10.
Luke Bender received a forfeit at 138 followed by a Mikey Frederick 17-8 major decision over Cole Dempsey at 145. Frederick wrestled 126 at the end of last season.
“The 145 pounders are big,” Frederick said. “Right now, I’m on my descent plan to get down to 138 for the Beast of the East tournament.”
Finbar Rishko (152) won by fall over Cody Pant in 40 seconds followed by a Juan Lares (160) pin over Caleb Murphy in 1:01.
Cape led 32-10 with five bouts remaining.
Andre Currie (170) engaged in a three-period battle with Ibrahim Statts before wining by 8-5 decision.
Gary Hayes, pressed into the lineup at 182, gave up 13 pounds to Brandon Tice of Lake, but battled through a physical match that included two stoppages for Tice’s hair containment, winning a 6-5 decision.
Cam Smith won 10-3 over Nathan Schurman at 195.
Jackson Handlin, who grappled at 160 at the end of last season, paying the price for putting on pounds in the off season, battled Kris Thompson at 220 before losing 8-2.
“Jackson is a great wrestler, so right now he has his sights set on 195 then maybe 182,” Mattioni said. “We have sophomore Malaki Lewis ready to go at 220 as soon as Jackson gets down.”
Lucas Ruppert (285) closed out the match with a pin over Traden Harrison at 3:06.
Cape will wrestle at Milford Wednesday, Dec. 11.