Special to the News
The Wildcat Matmen are back. The Richmond Hill High School wrestling team opened up its season this past weekend with a bang and sent a message, they may be one of the best teams in southeast Georgia.
The Wildcats participated in a tri-meet on Friday night at Savannah Christian Prep and a dual meet tournament at Groves High School and the results were phenomenal. On Friday night, the Wildcats participated in their first dual meet against Savannah's Johnson High School where they easily won 72-12, winning 12 of 14 matches. The second match of the night was the one many on the team, including the three senior team captains, Jameson Cunningham (152 pounds), Kyle Pierce (145) and Brandon Mason (160) have been waiting a year for, a rematch against their cross-town rivals, Benedictine Military High School and the match did not disappoint.
Last year the Cadets beat the Wildcats three times including a narrow three-point loss at last year's Senior Night.
This was not the case on Friday night, where the Wildcats dominated the Cadets winning 10 of 14 matches and winning the event 52-18.
The Cadets started the match off winning three out of the first five matches, but the event turned around when junior Ethan Wampler, last year's team MVP and lone state qualifier, took to the mat and defeated the Cadets best wrestler Bear Brantley at 120, by a score of 10-5.
The team's victory signified the first time the Wildcats have ever beaten the Cadets since the start of the program six years ago.
Friday night's two blowouts only set the tone for the storm the next day. The Wildcats participated in the Groves High School Rebel duals on Saturday where the Wildcats dominated the arena, not only winning the tournament, but also blowing out every opponent including winning the finals with a score of 70-12.
The 14 varsity wrestlers wrestled 70 matches on Saturday, where they won 63 of them, 43 of them by pin.
The Wildcats defeated Islands High School in the first round by a score of 72-12, shutout Savannah Country Day 82-0, Savannah Arts Academy in the third round by a score of 72-12, and Johnson High School 76-6 in the fourth round on their way to the finals where they faced Savannah High School.
The fans at Groves expected a close match between two of the area's best teams, but the match was not close at all, as the Wildcats defeated the Blue Jackets 70-12, winning 12 of 14 matches and winning their first tournament since the program began.
The success of the Wildcats lies in a deep core of senior leaders, led by Cunningham, Pierce and Mason.
Additionally seniors Cooper Russell, Karlton Greene and Aaron Dixon won seven matches over the weekend, as did Wampler and junior Jason Hsu.
Not only do the Wildcat Matmen have numerous talented and tough upperclassmen, but they also have some of the best young wrestler in the state as well.
Sophomores Zach Bringer and Zach Perez went 7-0 over the weekend and freshman Robert Freeman (106), Grant Foy (113), Derek Tucker (160) and Alex Martinez (285) did an outstanding job helping their team earn first place.