Eagles Point’s wrestling team had a chance to test themselves against top quality opponents when they hosted the well-respected Henley Hornets for a dual meet on Jan. 3. Only a few days prior, Henley finished in first place out of 81 teams from California, Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho at the 2012 Sierra Nevada Classic Tournament in Reno, Nevada. Three of Henley’s wrestlers took the gold medal, including one Ronnie Bresser, who is on the 2012 Junior National Team at 113 lbs., and is currently ranked on InterMatWrestle.com as the 12th wrestler in the nation at 120 lbs.
Henley wrestling is respected for a good reason. The Eagles lost in varsity competition by a team score of 27 – 47. But, Eagles head coach Kacey McNulty stressed that he was not disappointed with the way his athletes competed.
“That’s a team that’s one of the best in the state, in any division,” McNulty said. “And we put twenty-seven points up against them. So, I’m pretty happy.”
Matches started at 138 lbs. As the middle-heavy weights progressed, Eagle Point seemed bound for a closely scored dual. The first varsity victory for the Eagles happened at 160 lbs., when Hunter Hoeptner pinned Austin Tillery with a nearside cradle in the third period. Caleb Ash (170 lbs.) wrestled a tough match against Gary Jantzer, and won a 9-7 decision. Johnny Wilkerson (182 lbs.) made it look easy, shooting a quick takedown and sticking James Noonan with a half-nelson in the first period. David Gonzales (195 lbs.) pinned Brenden Rojas in the third period, and this was the last of the Eagles’ victories for the evening.
After a loss at 220 lbs. and a forfeit at 285 lbs., the lighter weights took the mat and reversed the pace of the dual. The greater part of Henley’s strength was in their lightweight wrestlers, and Bresser’s influence was easily seen. They all moved well on their feet, and tended to dominate on top with leg rides and cheap tilts. All matches from 106 – 126 lbs. either ended in a pin, or a technical fall, in the Henley wrestlers’ favor. The 132 lbs. match ended by major decision for Henley as well.
Coach McNulty talked about simple mistakes and said his team will work on some hand control exercises before going to the Rogue Valley Championships tournament on Jan. 5. “Hopefully, those things don’t happen again,” McNulty said. “And the next time we see those opponents, we’ll beat them.”
The Eagles go on the road for their next two dual meets at Crater High School on Thursday, Jan. 10, and at Grants Pass High School on Wednesday, Jan. 16.