Davie wrestling dismantles Mallard Creek

Published 1:12 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Mallard Creek features one of the finest wrestlers in state history, but the Mavericks as a whole were no match for the War Eagles, who dismantled the visitors 58-13 on Dec. 19.

It was a happy Christmas as Davie improved to 14-1 with its fifth win in a row.

“They have a tough team, but we matched up well in a lot of places,” coach Josh Stanley said. “The score was maybe not what even we expected, but I think we’re developing at the right time. When the ball started rolling … we weren’t sure it would go down quite like that. Yeah,  it was an exciting night.”

Eight pins were produced by Aidan Szewczyk (113), Cayden Glass (120), Andy Davis (138), Brett Foster (144), Maddox Creason in 2nd (165), Hunter Testa (175), Christian Boswell (190) and Brysen Godbey (215).

Testa (19-0) got six points as usual. Two others remained perfect on the season: Szewczyk (15-0) and Glass (19-0). Szewczyk is a freshman with 12 pins, two forfeits and a major decision.

“He’s surrounded by guys who are at the level that he wants to get to, and he’s not one that’s going to sit back,” Stanley said. “He’s got goals for now and for the future. He’s doing what he’s got to do to make weight for the team and for his long-term goals. He’s doing some weight-cutting to make sure he’s successful and at the right weight to produce now.”

Among Glass’ 19 wins are 13 pins/forfeits.

“He’s committed all the way around,” Stanley said of the junior. “His family is committed and that is a big part of it. He’s got to do the right thing diet-wise and social life. It’s a lot for a kid to balance and he does it well. We’re excited to see where he takes the run that he’s on.”

Showing clear progress, Creason broke into the lineup and bumped his sophomore record to 7-4. This was his first match at 165 after going battling 10 times at 175.

“Maddox finally got to his fighting weight,” Stanley said. “Him and Jerred (Alexander) have been pushing each other, and Maddox is developing really fast and he broke into the lineup. He got tested; he had a tough guy. He threw a big lateral drop, threw the guy to his back and pinned him – and the place went nuts. That’s what it’s about.”

When Creason got ready to execute the lateral drop, Stanley’s heart skipped a beat.

“You could hear guys on our bench saying: ‘Do it, do it.’ And the coaches were like: ‘No, no.’ Then it was like: ‘OK,’” he said. “You never know with a throw like that. In that situation it worked. You are chest to chest. If they are pushing into you, you always risk going to your back. You’ve got to have good technique and set it up right. In a match that you are winning, it’s scary. We want them to go get it and us having to reel them in versus being to timid.”

No Davie winner was more gritty than heavyweight Ryder Strickland, who squeaked out a 4-1 decision.

“That kid (from Mallard Creek) was a tank,” Stanley said. “He had a lot of leverage and height. You know how those matches go, it’s tough to get something cooking sometimes. We’re throwing a lot at Ryder and he’s still trying to develop and find out what he’s real confident in.”

The other two winners were Stephen Jacobs (major decision at 106) and Elliott Gould (decision at 150).

But perhaps the most impressive showing of all, ironically enough, was Tiaj Thao’s 11-7 loss at 126. The Davie sophomore squared off with the phenomenal Cameron Stinson, a senior who is a three-time state champion and a Tar Heel commitment. Thao showed guts in his second loss in 20 matches. Stinson was 29-0 through Dec. 20, last year he went 66-0 at 120 and he’s 174-0 in his high school career. That’s insane.

You’ve got to respect an 11-7 decision when you face somebody of that caliber.

“(Stinson) tries the tech fall everybody he wrestles just to get work in,” Stanley said. “He will probably go down as one of the best to come out of North Carolina. He has not lost in North Carolina, and (Thao) had a good scrap with him. He was scoring points and getting after him. That blew the top off the place. Cam loved the fact that he was getting pushed, he needs to see matches. I think a lot of guys are trying to avoid those situations to protect their record because our whole postseason is based on records, unfortunately. So it makes it tough to get those matches. It’s the same thing we see with Testa.”

Other top records for Davie: Godbey is 22-2, Foster 22-2, Strickland 21-1, Davis 19-1 and Jacobs 13-2.

Girls Win

Hannah McMillian and Arwyn Brungardt turned in first-period pins as the Davie women topped Mallard Creek 24-18.

McMillian is a first-year senior at 126 who has made enormous strides in a short amount of time.

“In just a month, how much she has improved is crazy,” Stanley said. “She’s one of the captains and it’s because of the way she approaches it and the way she handles the group.  She’s got an unassuming demeanor. You don’t know what to expect and then she will get after you.”

Brungardt, a junior at 132, has been Davie’s most consistent winner this season.

“Arwyn and Hannah set the tone for our girls squad,” Stanley said. “Arwyn’s doing good. She had a lot of confidence coming into the year and having a girls team behind her this year has been big. You can tell she’s enjoying it.”

A female wrestler to keep an eye on is freshman Kiera Hinson.

“She’s a first-year girl, but she’s got her whole high school career in front of her,” he said. “She’s training outside of Davie at the club level. She’s going to be one to watch in the next year or so. She’s a soccer player, so she’s got that work ethic and athleticism. She’s still learning how to wrestle. It’s not as easy when you’re at a lower weight class because there’s nobody for you to learn from and beat up on.”

Davie got forfeits at 100 and 138. The Mavericks had two pins and one forfeit. There were five double forfeits.