Rockets claim 1st region title
It was a long time coming for the Forrest wrestling team, who won the school's first region dual championship in about as exciting fashion as possible Thursday night in Chapel Hill, capturing the Region 7 title on a tiebreaker 77-72 over Page.
"This is a team game and this is something that has been a goal for us the last three years and this group finally got it done," said Forrest coach Kyle Stacey.
"I'm really happy for the kids, they worked hard all year and I told them this week that this group has improved more during the year than any other group I have had."
With the win, Forrest qualified for the TSSAA State Duals Championships at the Williamson County Expo Center where the Rockets will take on Hixon at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
A four-team region tournament turned into a three-participant event when Fairview had to withdraw because of an outbreak of the skin infection called herpes gladiatorum (herpes simplex virus type 1-HSV1) that affected several members of the wrestling team.
Forrest beat Eagleville 40-33 in the opening region match, before Page defeated the Rockets 38-37, setting up the third match that the Patriots won 36-34 over the Eagles.
Forrest was awarded the region title via the pre-determined tiebreaker of overall match points, coming out on top with 77, over Fairview (72) and Eagleville (69).
"We told the boys before the match that every point matters and that's what it came down to, because we needed every point to win," said Stacey.
Caden Pennington (126 lbs.) and Landon Fowler (132) gave Eagleville an early 12-0 lead with a pair of pins before Joseph Williams earned Forrest three points with an exciting 6-5 win over Ryan Tumbleson in the 138-pound weight class.
Eagleville's Ben Day pinned Clepper Watson (145), giving the Eagles an 18-3 lead, but Ivan Wentzel (152) shutout Andrew Gill 8-0 in a three-round battle to garner four points for the Rockets.
Forrest senior Jerry Jordan (160) was awarded six points for a forfeit before Eagleville's Josiah Tuch (170) came up with a pin.
Rocket 182-pounder Dylan Booker won a 7-6 decision over Griffin Dodd and Forrest followed with two forfeit wins by Billy Clanton (195) and Dillon Kydd (220), giving Forrest a 28-24 lead.
Nikolas McGuiggan stretched the Forrest lead to 10 points with a first-round pin over Brandon Wesley in the heaviest weight division at 285 pounds.
Forrest's Harley Sisk (106) fought for three rounds in his match with Blaine Fussell before losing 11-7, slicing the Rockets lead to seven points, but up next was the undefeated Dylan Pendley (113), who clinched the match with a pin over Williams Magoon with 1:16 remaining in the first period.
Hayden Hammonds (120) pinned Forrest's CJ Monce in the final match.
Forrest vs. Page
Things did not start out well for the Rockets versus Page as the Patriots took a 19-0 lead before Jordan notched six points for Forrest with a pin over Chris Koshar.
Bryce Teague and John Noe posted back-to-back pins for Page, and in the Noe match, the Rockets were deducted one point on an unsportsmanlike penalty on Booker, extending the Patriots' lead to 32-5.
Forrest heated up, winning three straight matches on falls by Clanton, McGuiggan, and Kydd, making it a 38-23 contest.
Page's Alek Filaroski (106) came back with a pin over Harley Sisk and Pendley kept his unbeaten season intact once again, taking down Vincent Ha with 49 seconds remaining in the first period, slicing the Patriots' lead to 38-29.
"Pendley has had a phenomenal year, he wrestles hard and his style is very aggressive and just like any sport, when he gets after like that, it gets everybody excited and pumped up," said Stacey.
Monce tightened the match up even more at 38-33, earning three points with a 10-3 decision over Laz Bibeau in the 120-pound weight class.
Peyton Sisk (126) took the mat and the only way the Rockets could win would be on a pin over Nick Oberstaedt.
Sisk had Oberstaedt on the ropes several times in the match, but the Patriot wrestler avoided a pin, giving up just four points to secure the one-point win over the Rockets.
The region title would be decided in the next match as Page took on Eagleville and the Patriots jumped out to a big 34-12 lead before the Eagles won the four straight to complete the comeback win, 36-24.
After several minutes of discussion and calculations, the Rockets were awarded the title on the tiebreaker.
"I'm just really excited for these kids, hopefully we will have a great week of practice and head up to Williamson County to see what we can do," said Stacey.