Tech Edged by St Andrews

January 10, 2014

MONTGOMERY, W. 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. The teams split the 10 bouts wrestled, five to five, with the difference coming from additional bonus points scored by St. Andrews.

At 125 lbs., 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 lbs., and jumped out to a commanding 18-3 team score.

Senior Captain John Walters began the Tech rally with a 7-0 decision over Bluefield, WV's 2013 State Champion Brandon Eldridge. With that win Walters moved to 13-3 on the season. Co-Captain sophomore Dirk Ponchak converted his leg attack into a cradle and finished off Djemson Villard with a body press for a first period fall in the 165 lb. bout. Ponchak is now 16-1 on the year. The Golden Bear's comeback was dealt a difficult blow at 174 lbs 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. Andrew's Dejaunte Pabellon. Tola 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 a closer 13-9. Morakinyo used a leg attack to drive Pabellon to his back and scored the fall.

With the score 21-18 in favor of St. Andrews, freshman "Terrible" 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 made the team score tied 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.

Said Head Coach Sam Gardner after the loss "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. We need to learn from this, know what we need to do to perform better, and move on. Fortunately tommorrow we'll get another shot at them. Hopefully we can wrestle tougher in the situations where we got beaten today and turn this result around. There are times when it isn't about technique and talent and it is about fight. We need to be able to fight!"

Tech falls to 9-4 on the season. Their next match is the Washington & Lee Invitational in Lexington, VA on Saturday 1/11/2014.

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