By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Duals are not always won by the big pin.
Sometimes they’re won by gutting out tight decisions.
Wednesday night on the road, #4 Creekside turned the tide against #7 Nease behind three decisions in the middle weights, capitalizing on the shift in momentum to surge toward strengths at the bookends and take a 45-25 dual victory that was closer than the final score would otherwise indicate.
“We thought the matches would be close and they were, and I thought the dual would be close,” Creekside coach Rick Marabell said. “We had a couple guys that had a rough week, so we held them out. A couple of younger guys stepped in.
“The kids wrestled well. We have to get in better shape, but it’s early. We will.”
Nease (0-1) jumped out to an early 10-0 lead behind DeAndre Demus’ first-period fall at 132 and Jacob Satterfield’s 14-2 major at 138, but the tide began to turn at 145.
There, in a battle where both wrestlers seemed to have advantages at one point or another, it was the experience of the Knights’ Max Patterson that paid off, as he picked up the fall in 2:47 to put Creekside on the board.
Then, in a match that had significant momentum implications, the Knights’ Jacob Cooney outlasted Tanner Hill, 3-2, with a penalty point called against Hill either immediately before or just as time expired in regulation. Billy Shaw (160) and Tristan Diaz (170) then battled their way to 9-4 wins at their weights, and Creekside (1-0) had a lead it would not relinquish.
With Nease forfeiting at 182, plus falls for Trey Chesser (195) and Saul Storey (285) bookending a Panther pin from Nick Thoresen at 220, Creekside was up 17, 33-16, with four weights to go, and clinched the dual with a forfeit at 106.
“They forfeited to (Brandon) Dickman (at 182), and I would have too, but that kind of fed into our strengths up top,” Marabell said.
Nease cut into what was a 23-point lead with two bonus-point wins from Brenden Teaman (10-2 major at 113) and Sean Arnold (tech in 5:04 at 120), but Creekside closed out the dual with another victory in a match that had wild momentum shifts on both sides, as Andrew Keck picked up the fall at 126 in 5:19.
“We’re right there. We’ve got more work to do, and that’s OK, because I’m a patient man. Slow and steady,” Nease coach Craig Muckle said. “They (Creekside) got the momentum to swing their way with Tanner’s match (at 152) and they got a little more momentum after that.
“But that’s OK. We had a nice big crowd tonight, that’s new for us, and it was a good way to start. More work to do, though.”