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INDEPENDENCE -- For about 10 minutes, it was shaping up to be the quickest tri-meet in the history of the sport.
The final district action of the season involving Mountain Empire District teams Galax, Grayson County and Fort Chiswell started off with a parade of forfeits until the Maroon Tide and the Blue Devils took the mat, with Galax downing Grayson County 64-11 Thursday at Grayson County Middle School. Fort Chiswell brought just two wrestlers, who coincidentally were in two weight classes not filled by Grayson County, thus all 14 individual matches in the Grayson-Fort dual were forfeits. Galax got pins from Junior Espinoza at 103 pounds and Ethan Campbell at 112, plus a dozen forfeit wins, in the Tide’s team victory over Fort Chiswell. With two-thirds of the dual matches out of the way in less time than some individual bouts last, Grayson County and Galax brought an end to the regular season schedule with a fiercely contested though lopsided finale. The Blue Devils got off to a good start when Chase Bare recorded a pin in the second period of the 285-pound bout, but Galax reeled off wins in the next eight matches while Grayson County lost a team point to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as the Maroon Tide took a 43-5 team lead. Forfeit wins by Espinoza and Campbell put Galax on top for good, after which Edu Rojas and Jose Rojas recorded first-period pins for the Tide. One of the better bouts of the night came in the 130-pound class, where the Maroon Tide’s Tyler Matthews held off Ben Horton 10-6. A takedown and two near fall points by Matthews to start the third period gave him an 8-4 lead before Horton scored a reversal to pull to within two points. Matthews reversed Horton late in the match to secure the win. Dante Ravenell scored a major decision with a 15-2 win at 135 pounds and following a forfeit win at 140, Jose Martinez got a pin midway through the second period at 145 for the Maroon Tide. Michael Chase beat the buzzer by recording a pin with one second left in the first period of what was a 2-0 match in the 152-pound class before Galax's Seth Criner came out on top in the most competitive bout of the night with a 6-5 win over Ryan Cummins at 160 pounds. Neither wrestler scored in the second period and Criner’s escape gave him a 5-3 lead early in the third. Cummins looked to have forced overtime when he took Criner down with 11 seconds left, but Criner wriggled free and scored an escape with two ticks left to take the win. Galax wrapped up the night with pins by Zack Testerman (171), Dakota Cockerham (189) and Darian Sizemore (215).