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HILLSVILLE –– Ideally, late January is the perfect time for wrestling teams to peak. Going 7-1 in dual matches last week, Carroll County appears to be heading in that direction.
The Cavaliers swept its first quad match in several years Wednesday when it took close nondistrict wins over Patrick County, Grayson County and Martinsville.
“A lot of our younger guys wrestled very well for us and helped us win those matches,” said Jason Morris, Carroll County’s coach. “It’s been a long time since we’ve gone through a quad meet and came out with three wins, maybe since my first year here. So it was exciting.”
Especially against Patrick County. The Cavaliers got individual wins from Aaron Willard (160 pounds), Mickey Quesenberry (215), Drew McCraw (275), Jesse Pedrero (125), Blake Bowman (130), Jordan Lamb (135) and Jared Hooper (140) to enter the final bout tied 36-36 with the Cougars. First-year sophomore Johnny Thomas rallied from a big first-period deficit to take an 18-14 win at 152, propelling the Cavaliers to a 39-36 win.
Thomas was on his back in the first period and trailed by eight before coming back for the win.
“That’s kind of what we’re trying to do, just find a way to win,” Morris said. “It was exciting, and good for our kids, too. We’ve been traveling around a lot getting beat up at some places, and it was good for us to have some wins for us there at home.”
Carroll County (12-6 in dual matches this year) opened the day with a 38-34 win over Martinsville. Thomas earned a 10-5 win, Willard registered a second-period technical fall while Quesenberry, Pedrero, Bowman and Hooper all won by pin and McCraw picked up a forfeit.
Lamb claimed a 9-5 overtime win over Grayson County’s Jesse Pugh to send the Cavaliers on their way to a 42-33 win over the Blue Devils.
“Pugh beat him pretty handily earlier in the year in our tournament, but he came back and won that match and that kind of got us on a roll,” Morris said. “Nicholas [Tobler] went out and won his, and it kind of snowballed.”
Jared Cox (119), Bowman, Hooper, Thomas, Quesenberry and McCraw also won for the Cavaliers.
Carroll County has two more dual events sandwiched around the Christiansburg Big Blue Tournament before heading into the postseason.
“We really haven’t wrestled as well as I think we can,” said Morris. “We’ve been inconsistent like that, but we just want to keep plugging away and hopefully it will come together at the right time. We’re working hard, but sometimes it takes time for it to come together in competition. Our philosophy is that the biggest thing we want to prepare for is the postseason stuff. We want to try to peak at the right time. It’s not as big a deal that we’re not all on the same page right now, but hopefully we will be by the district and regional tournament. Especially that regional tournament, because it’s going to be a tough one to get through to get some kids to the state tournament.”