After trailing for 12 of the first 13 matches, the Nation Ford Falcons wrestling team got a win when it mattered most to beat Clover 39-36 and open their Region IV schedule.
The Falcons never led against Clover until the final weight class when T.J. Giarratana picked up a first period pin to give Nation Ford the win at 132 pounds.
“It was a very tough Clover team,” said Falcons’ head coach Dan Snell.
“They are good in the middle and we had to survive the storm. T.J. gave us a huge win. He is the type of kid that does anything you need him to do.”
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Nation Ford lost its first four matches starting at 138 pounds by pin and quickly went down 24-0. Bryson Perdue picked up the Falcons’ first win with a 7-0 decision at 170. That opened the flood gates, as Nation Ford won the next three matches to make it 24-21. Jake Gravely got the win at 182 with a pin and Jason Nunoo picked up a forfeit win at 195. Ashten Schaufert got a second period pin at 220 to pull the Falcons within striking distance.
Clover then stretched out its lead after winning at heavyweight to go up 30-21, but a forfeit at 106 pounds again gave Nation Ford a chance by putting the Falcons within three team points. Clover would won by decision at 113-pounds to go up 33-27, but Nation Ford’s Jeremy Kishbaugh picked up a first-period pin at 120 to tie the meet at 33 apiece. Clover regained the lead after a win at 126 pounds, going up 36-33, before Giarratana saved the day for the Falcons with a pin at 132.
Nation Ford is now 1-0 in the region and 10-7 on the year after also taking down Lexington 48-23 in the non-region meet. Winning for the Falcons against Lexington were Dylan Tindall, Cole Williamson, Dylan Curtsinger, Aronde Smith, Dax Stegall, Gravely, Nunoo, Schaufert, Giarratana, and Kishbaugh.
The Falcons head to Northwestern and Rock Hill this week to continue their region schedule. Their next home match will be hosting rivals Fort Mill Jan. 24 to close out the regular season.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM