With River Ridge trailing 33-28 and one class left to be wrestled, Drac Cameron needed a pin at 285 pounds in order for River Ridge to win. He and Sequoyah’s Wyatt Jacobs battled through two periods, with neither scoring many points. Cameron waited for a chance to make his move and when he did, he quickly pinned Jacobs with 1:48 left in the third.
The freshman said he knew what was at stake when he stepped on the mat, and he was feeling the pressure. Knowing he had to get a pin changed his strategy a bit.
“I just thought, ‘I’ve got to win this for my team or it’s going to go badly for me at practice,’” Cameron said. “I was just trying to get a half (nelson) to a pin or get the cradle so I could go for it. That’s what happened.”
Cameron said, if he had the chance, he would put himself back in the position and do it again.
“I’m a freshman and I won the match for my team,” he said. “That feels great.”
Sequoyah entered Wednesday’s dual knowing it would be digging out of a hole. The Chiefs were forced to forfeit matches at 113, 121 and 183.
Sequoyah’s Matt Greer pinned his opponent at 132 pounds, as did Keegan Grodi (160) and Brad Laselva (170), but it wasn’t enough for the Chiefs. Alex Bryant also had a decision over Marvin Cunningham at 126.
“We gave up three weight classes, so we were already down 18-0,” Sequoyah coach James Sanchez said. “You can’t get pinned when you are down 18-0, and we got pinned. The sad part about it is we are still getting pinned by Day 1 stuff. We have improved in a lot of ways, but, some days, it isn’t clicking right now.”
Jacobs wasn’t the only Chief to be pinned. Chase Bagwell was pinned by Noah Smith at 145, giving River Ridge an 18-9 lead at the time. The Knights’ Davis Mackenzie earned a decision over Logan Honea at 195, and Seth Nama had a 5-4 decision over Logan McIntire at 152.
River Ridge coach Joseph Mullinax said it’s amazing to see how far the program has come. Last year, the Knights won just one dual match, but this season they have improved to five wins.
“The overall record we have is not a winning record,” Mullinax said. “You have to build a foundation somewhere, and we are doing that. We were trying to send this seniors out on a good night with a win over a county opponent, and we did that.”
Despite the loss, Sanchez said he did see some positives from his team.
“The kids who were supposed to step up stepped up,” he said. “My 126 (Bryant), my 132 (Greer), my 160 (Grodi), my 170 (Laselva) — they did what they were supposed to do and I’m proud of them. I’m proud of them all. Wrestling is just a tough sport.”
Sequoyah will wrestle this weekend in a 32-team event at Pickens, while River Ridge will take some time off before the Region 7AAAA traditional tournament Feb. 1-2.