The Richmond Hill wrestling team pulled out their first wins of the season during a Jan. 17 meet at Savannah Arts Academy. The Mat Cats garnered a 24-12 victory over Savannah Arts Academy and an impressive 60-12 victory over Beach High School with wins garnered by the majority of the RHHS roster.
"It’s reassuring to know that, while we were beat by some of the toughest teams in the area, we are not at the bottom," Coach Rick Bond said. "The tough matches we’ve had thus far have given us some crucial training to our growing program and that has certainly helped us with these recent victories. We hope to continue this trend for the remainder of the season."
Two days prior, RHHS hosted its first ever home meet. They welcomed a team that is widely perceived as the toughest wrestling team in the area.
Benedictine wrestling has the kind of program that Richmond Hill head coach Rick Bond would like his team to become. So when his first year team managed to take four of the fourteen matches Jan. 15 at Richmond Hill, including two he had to forfeit due to lack of wrestlers, he had to be pleased. Richmond Hill lost 60-21 to Benedictine but won some self respect and admiration from the fans in attendance.
"BC has a lot of veteran wrestlers and they showed us what good wrestling is about...we had some kids hurt and not available and in fairness they had wrestlers missing too," Bond said in explaining his team’s performance. His pleasure and pride in how his team measured up was evident, regardless of the circumstances.
The Wildcats found themselves combating with a fellow Richmond Hill resident in one weight category. Richmond Hill resident and 2007 state tournament finalist Ryan Gregory, now a senior and hoping to bring a state title to Benedictine this year, wrestled Wildcat sophomore and Bryan County News correspondent Stephen Hundley at 171 lbs. Hundley seemingly deserved courage points as he hung on through the second period as Gregory built a ten point lead before finally winning by pin in the second period. While this was the marquis match from the Benedictine perspective, Richmond Hill enjoyed their success on both sides of that match.
In a meet dominated by falls, most of them by their opponents and most of them early, 145 lb. Sophomore John Phifer provided maybe the most entertaining match for the home crowd when he out pointed Cadet Weslie Reinke in the third period, breaking a 4-4 tie at the end of the second and pulling out a 7-4 Richmond Hill win.
At 152 lbs., junior Jacob Fox was matched up with Cadet Josh Conely and went to the second period scoreless. Both wrestlers stayed out of trouble throughout the second and Fox held only a 2-1 edge going to the third. Fox’s opponent finally made a mistake early in the period and the Richmond Hill junior made him pay with a pin – the Wildcats second win in a row.
After the Gregory win, Richmond Hill freshman Jesse Carter, wrestling in his first ever match for the Wildcats, dominated Cadet Rodney Bostich from the start and won in a surprisingly easy fall in the second period.
Lance Owen had a similar match at 215 lbs. when he pinned Cadet Luke Pashe in the first period. Richmond Hill lost the final two matches of the contest. Richmond Hill finished fourth in the region 3-AAA duals at South Effingham at the meet prior to this one.
If you missed this event, you’ll have another chance to see RHHS at home: Jan. 29 versus Brunswick, 5 p.m. start.