The Eagles wrestling team went to South Medford High School for their first two league dual meets, with the Ashland Grizzlies and the South Medford Panthers, on Dec. 20. Final team scores were 52 – 30 against the Grizzlies, and 55 – 21 against the Panthers, both in Eagle Point’s favor.
Head coach for the Eagles, Kacey McNulty, expressed a tempered happiness about the victories. “It’s a nice way to start off the season,” McNulty said. “The only disappointing thing is that we’re giving up two weight classes, so we’re giving up twelve points every time we wrestle.”
McNulty went on to say that he hopes to fill the 220 lbs. spot in the near future.
Despite the point deficit due to forfeits at 220 lbs. and 285 lbs., the Eagles more than made up for it with eight pins in twelve matches against South Medford. Levi Pomeroy (126 lbs.) pinned TJ Roberts in the third period. Eddie Perez Rivera (132 lbs.), Taylor Mitchell (138 lbs.), Kaden Crandall (145 lbs.), Sean McKenzie (170 lbs.), and Jake Lilley (195 lbs.) all stuck their Panther opponents shortly after fast takedowns in the first period. Hunter Hoeptner (160 lbs.) took Brandon Brooks to a fall in the third, and Blaine Cloney (182 lbs.) pinned Gaets Frasier also in the third period.
James McCoy (152 lbs.) beat Ruben Mendez by decision, and Mikey Johnson (106 lbs.) won a major decision over Brandon Wolf.
“I thought we wrestled really well on our feet tonight,” coach McNulty said. “I always like to see fast takedowns.”
When it comes to takedowns, the Eagles do not mess around. In eleven of the twelve matches against South Medford, it was the Eagle wrestler who got the first two points standing up— which, statistically speaking, usually decides the winner.
McCoy got four takedowns in his match against Mendez, three of which came during some target practice in the third period. And, with the nicely executed fireman’s carries in both Pomeroy’s and Hoeptner’s matches, it was surprising to hear coach McNulty explain that not much of his practice time is dedicated to drilling this particular takedown. “But, we have some kids that are pretty good at it,” he said.
The Eagles will host their first wrestling meet at home on Jan. 3, when they take on the Hornets from Henley High School.