High school wrestling: West comes up short in final against Fred T. Foard

Published 11:29 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Staff report

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan wrestling coach Jonathan Brown always will remember that it came to the last match.

Down 36-31 against perennial power and defending state champ Fred T. Foard in the 3A West Regional final, the Falcons had to have a pin at 113 pounds to pull it out.

“I told my 113 (Oliver Perry) that he couldn’t wrestle the way he would his normal match, the only chance we had was a pin (for six points),” Brown said. “And he went after it. He gave up a lot of points, but he was so close to a pin a couple of times.”

The final, with a major decision at 113, was top-seeded Fred T. Foard Tigers 40, Falcons 31.

It was the first dual team loss of the season for the Falcons.

West came roaring out of the gate against the Foard Tigers and jumped ahead with four straight victories.

“Well, the match started at a great place for us, the heart of our lineup, but after those wins, we went into the heart of their lineup,” Brown said.

There was plenty of drama just getting to the final.

Third-seeded West won 35-33 in the regional semifinals against second-seeded Eastern Guilford in a battle of unbeaten squads, although it wasn’t quite as close as it sounds.

Once victory was assured, West strategically forfeited the last two matches. That eliminated any chance of injury and also kept two wrestlers fresh for the match that was still ahead.

“One of those forfeits was by our heavyweight Christian Hercules, and he would have pinned his guy,” Brown said. “The other one was at 106. Both teams have good ones. That match would have been a dogfight.”

Foard,a  36-35 winner over Enka before it took on the Falcons, moves on to the state championship match, and is a virtual lock to repeat as state champion.

Whoever won Wednesday’s West Regional was going to be a heavy favorite to win it all over the East Regional champ.

Brown has zero doubt about that. Had West gotten past Fred T. Foard, the Falcons would have won it all.

The season isn’t over for West. Now the Falcons prepare for the upcoming individual regional action that will be held at North Davidson.

“We’ve got some good individuals that have a chance to make a run at state,” Brown said. “But we were at our best as a dual team.”

See photo gallery here https://www.salisburypost.com/2023/02/01/photo-gallery-falcons-win-first-round-fall-just-short-against-reigning-state-champions-fred-t-foard/