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Central Mountain handles BEA in wrestling

Things looked gloomy for the Central Mountain wrestling team as it traveled to Wingate Thursday night to battle the No. eight team in AA.

Thursday’s match against BEA marked the Wildcats’ first time in action since Jan. 8 after COVID-19 complications interrupted CM’s 5-2 start. The Wildcats quickly shrugged the rust off and stunned the home crowd as they earned the, 45-21, victory over the Eagles.

Shortly after “Renegade” by Styx echoed throughout the seasoned BEA gymnasium and the Eagles circled the mat, it was time for the Wildcats to put on a show.

The match began at a sweet spot for CM as 2021 state finalist Luke Simcox took the mat for the Wildcats to battle BEA’s Jeffre Pifer who carried a 15-5 record. Simcox–who earned his 19th victory of the season Thursday–worked the second period fall to put the Wildcats ahead early. With an early, 6-0, advantage and the home crowd speechless, CM’s Griffin Walizer followed up Simcox’s pin with one of his own at 145. The sophomore took an early 6-1 lead over BEA’s Tayten Yoder and never looked back. Walizer picked up the pin in the closing moments of the second period to tally back-to-back pins for the Wildcats.

“We started at a good spot, and they got the momentum going for us, for sure,” Wildcats coach Biff Walizer said about the consecutive falls. “We were a little early about being shut down last week and having the time off, how crip and sharp we would be. Overall, pretty pleased with the effort.”

After Simcox and Walizer picked up pins, the winning did not stop for the Wildcats as they went on to win the next two bouts of the match at 152 and 160. Gino Serafini–who earned win No. 10 after his victory–worked a, 9-1, decision, over BEA’s Mason Reese who fell to 5-8. At 160, Jacob Weaver used a strong second period (5-0 in favor of Weaver) to defeat BEA’s Cameron Dubbs to push CM’s lead to 19-0 through four bouts.

That was when the Eagles registered their first team points of the night. Freshman Caleb Close gave BEA its first victory after he shutout CM’s Rocco Serafini for win No. 19. Close was one of four Eagles to come out victorious.

“We knew coming in that they’d be a tough team and we thought we would go out and compete the best that we could,” Eagles coach Ron Guenot said in reference to the Wildcats. “You know, we just told the kids we have to move on and keep our head up, get back in the room (wrestling) and work hard.”

After Close’s win at 172, CM’s Damien Galentine flipped the momentum back to the Wildcats side. The senior managed to push his individual season record over the .500 mark by pinning BEA’s Austin Moyle with just under a minute left in the first period. With a 25-3 lead, BEA needed to make something happen.

The Eagles did just that as Noah Foltz managed to get the fall over CM’s Micah Walizer at 215. Foltz improved his record to 16-4 and was one of the one’s Guenot pointed to after the match.

“We kind of expect that from those guys. You know, I thought those guys did a good job getting those bonus points and falls. I guess you could kind of look at that as the positive of the match,” Guenot said.

The Wildcats then went on to pick up the final four of the six bouts to earn the final score of 46 compared to BEA’s 21. CM winners late included: Brayden Blackwell (285), Derek Keen (120), Dalton Perry (126) and Taylor Weaver (132).

BEA’s Lucas Fye earned the victory via fall over Clayton Foster at 113 for the Eagles’ final win.

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