By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Chris Connell set the tone for the Northridge with a one-point decision at 220 pounds as the Raiders posted a 48-27 NLC high school wrestling win Thursday night at Wawasee.
Connell trailed Wawasee senior Chad Eppley for much of the match before recording a 9-8 victory.
“Connell was 0-4 lifetime against that kid until tonight,” Northridge coach Eric Higley said. “The match turned in his favor when he realized he could take the Wawasee kid down.”
Late in the match Connell notched a takedown to tie the score 7-7. He then let Eppley up to give the Wawasee wrestler an escape point and an 8-7 lead before another takedown put him back in front for good.
“It was a combination on that one,” Highley said. “Connell was letting the kid up just as I was yelling at him to let him up. We were both thinking the same thing. Connell did just what he is supposed to do in that situation.”
Northridge (2-0, 1-0 NLC) competes in the Plymouth Super Duals on Saturday and Wawasee in the LaPorte Duals, also on Saturday.
“We have seven freshmen among the 13 weight classes,” Wawasee coach Paul Meyer said. “And some of them don’t have very much experience. The first step in the NLC is always a big one. It’s hard to take one on the chin like this at home.”
Northridge led 36-15 after junior Lucas Wickey recorded a pin at 285. Wawasee then got a little momentum as freshman Josh Matthews won by pinfall at 106 as did classmate Tristen Ponsler at 113, making the score Northridge 36-27.
“We got a little momentum there,” Meyer said.
The shift in momentum didn’t last long as Northridge senior Todd Santiago pinned his foe at 120 followed by a pin at 126 from classmate Devin Puckett in the evening’s final contest.
“Puckett is doing well,” Highley said. “He has to keep things in perspective and take steps forward.”
Northridge jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead when junior Jon Yoder notched a pinfall at 132 in the first match.
Other Raider wins came from junior Ryan Baxter with a pin at 138, junior Nick Maher with a forfeit at 145, senior Levi Benton with a pin at 160 and sophomore Dylan Swank with a decision at 170.
“We are pretty solid from the middle of our lineup to heavyweight, but none of them are there yet,” Highley said. “We showed some resolve by getting the pins after Wawasee got within none points. It was good to see the kids do that.”
Wawasee wins were by junior Jake Sumpter by decision at 152, senior Nick Rozow by pin at 160 and senior Brian Clark by pin at 195.
“The 170, 190 and 200 classes are the ones we are counting on for points,” Meyer said. “We had a different lineup than we you will see Saturday at LaPorte.”
106 — Josh Matthews (W) pinned Brody Erb, 1:08.
113 — Tristen Ponsler (W) pinned Kyle Miller, 1:50.
120 — Todd Santiago (N) pinned Javier Lopez, 3:56.
126 — Devin Puckett (N) pinned Ronny Shortt, 1:25.
132 — Jon Yoder (N) pinned Logan Bowers, 1:34.
138 — Ryan Baxter (N) dec. Doug Corl, 22-8.
145 — Nick Maher (N) received a forfeit.
152 — Jake Sumpter (W) def. Tim Deters, 11-4.
160 — Levi Benton (N) pinned Jordan Brown, 1:45.
170 — Nick Rozow (W) pinned Joey Solis, 1:15.
182 — Dylan Swank (N) dec. Stephen Possell, 12-4.
195 — Brian Clark (W) pinned Brenten Hobson, :59.
220 — Chris Connell (N) def. Chad Eppley, 9-8.
285 — Lucas Wickey (N) pinned Rodrigo Hernandez, 2:54.
JV: Northridge won 24-6. (Northridge winners: Devin Rudloff, Chris Howe, Brody Miller and Isaac Zickafoose by pins. Wawasee winner: Andy Holdeman by pin).