Using a string of three straight individual wins to close out the match, Lincoln emerged with a 48-30 win at Foss on Dec. 6 in the teams’ first dual meet of the season.
With the match tied 30-30, the Abes’ Muhammad Badji pinned Foss’ Wascar Carpio one minute into the second round of the 113-pound bout to give Lincoln the lead, and Kamar Long followed with a pin late in the second round in the 120-pound bout to make it 42-30, sealing the win. Avery Meyers closed out the match by pinning Mark Alteres just over a minute into the first round to put an exclamation point on the victory.
“We’ve got some solid wrestlers and some really green wrestlers,” said Lincoln head coach Ed LaCross. “That’s why it’s tough to catch these guys, who we’re so competitive with, this early (in the season).”
The Abes got off to a solid start, as Juan Vicente pinned the Falcons’ Joseph Wertz late in the first round of the 132-pound bout, and Robert Mathews followed with a pin in the second round to make it 12-0. But the Falcons’ Isaiah Smith, Nick Burton and Jonathan Thomas all came up with pins well into their respective matches to give Foss its first lead at 18-12. Colin Artero was then awarded a win after the Abes’ Ike Castro was disqualified due to a dangerous move, and the Falcons’ lead was 24-12. But Austin Pizarro helped turn the tides in the 182-pound bout, getting a pin just 34 seconds into his match, and Elias Fletcher followed with a pin in the third round to tie it back up.
“It’s (a league match), so (coach) wanted us to put them away quickly,” Pizarro said. “So I thought we just tried to pin them as quick as we could. They’re also tough, though.”
The Abes gained a momentary lead when Eric Pula got a forfeit win, but Foss tied it back up when Patiole Pesefea pinned Lincoln’s Que’Veon Jenkins – who normally wrestles at 220 pounds – in the 285-pound bout in the second round. That’s when Lincoln launched its late surge, as the quicker, lower-weight wrestlers were able to take control.
“We had some good, intense matches and some breaks that didn’t go our way,” LaCross said. “In the end, we pulled it out because the kids rallied.”
And while the Falcons’ squad – which features a number of freshmen and sophomores that play key roles – didn’t come out on top, it certainly was a learning experience.
“Give (Lincoln) respect, they fought hard,” said Foss junior Michael Cabrera, a team leader who wrestles in the 152-pound classification. “They were the victors tonight, but I think next time they’re not going to be on top. “We want to show schools that yeah, we’re young, but watch out for us.”