Sunday, 08 December 2019 20:23

Richmond earns co-championship at Raider Rumble 2

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Senior Austin Gallops (left) pins Terry Sanford's Ziair McKoy-Caughman in Saturday's Raider Rumble 2. Senior Austin Gallops (left) pins Terry Sanford's Ziair McKoy-Caughman in Saturday's Raider Rumble 2. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — For the first time in three meets this season, the Richmond Senior High School wrestling team earned a first-place co-championship on Saturday.

Raider Gymnasium was transformed into the site for Raider Rumble II, Richmond’s second home invitational this winter. Playing host to six other schools, the Raiders wrestled their way to a 4-0 day, finishing tied with Seventy-First High School for first place.

Head coach Earl Nicholson saw his Raiders compete against Douglas Byrd, Montgomery Central, Terry Sanford and Vance high schools. He added he doesn’t like to schedule matches between conference opponents ahead of conference play, so that’s why the Raiders didn’t wrestle Seventy-First.

Through their 14 team matches this season, Richmond improved the 11-3 overall.

After not having several of his starters in last week’s Cold Turkey Duals, Nicholson saw his entire starting lineup return. Several Raiders would go 4-0 on the day, including seniors Joey Nicholson (120-pound) and Austin Gallops (160-pound). Freshman Christian Sanchez went 4-0 thanks to four forfeit wins.

With his sweep against his opponents, Nicholson stayed perfect on the season at 14-0. Gallops improved to 11-3, the second best record on the team.

“We had a lot less pins today, and the guys were up and attacking like they needed to,” Earl Nicholson said. “They showed improvements in working on bottom moves, too. We’re not where we need to be yet, but we’re heading in the right direction.”

To open the day, the Raiders used eight forfeits and six pins to shutout Vance 84-0. Earning pinfall victories were Joey Nicholson against Khamani Harrison, Michael DeMay (145-pound, unknown opponent), Gallops over Jerry Boyce, Nathaniel Parker (170-pound) against Christian Brown, Cameron Russell (182-pound) over Kanye Sharpless and heavyweight Noah Gomez against Ryan Williams.

The Timberwolves of Montgomery Central proved to be a more evenly-matched opponent, but Richmond held on for a 45-32 win. Eight Raiders would win, including pins from Nicholson, Dante Baldwin (126-pound), Joshua Wallace (132-pound), Bryant Coll (138-pound) and Parker. Russell defeated Dillon Stuart 13-7 for a minor decision win.

Richmond’s match with Terry Sanford was similar to the one against Montgomery Central, seeing the Raiders pick up a 48-30 victory. Nicholson impressed with a pin over Johnathon Devereaex in 12 seconds, and DeMay picked up a pin over Ethan Tarris in the first round for his second pin of the day.

Ethan Owens (152-pound) followed up with a pin against Memphis Naugle in the second round, and Gallops made quick work for another pin, this time against Ziair McKoy-Caughman.

The Raiders’ shot at taking home the co-championship came down to what Earl Nicholson called “taking care of business” against Douglas Byrd. Five pins and three forfeits, along with a minor decision win from Carson Jordan (145-pound) over William McKoy provided Richmond with a 51-27 victory.

Nicholson, Baldwin and Gallops all had pins, while James Strickland (170-pound) and Monte Gilmore (220-pound) picked up their lone pins of the day. Strickland handled Dylan Gerald and Gilmore overpowered Quincy Jones.

“Joey and Austin handled business today,” Coach Nicholson said. “Josh Wallace did a good job and went 2-0 and split with Hector Castro. Michael DeMay is going to be a big part of our success this year in the 145-pound spot.”

The Raiders will open Sandhills Athletic Conference play on Wednesday against Hoke County and Pinecrest high schools. Nicholson noted his team is excited to contend for an SAC title, which will see matches start at 6 p.m.

“We’re excited but it’s also scary because it’s the first time the guys weigh-in in the afternoon,” he closed. “But we’re excited because it’s just two matches where we can go 100 percent.”

Nicholson added that any Richmond athletes who just wrapped up their football season and who want to wrestle, will need to attend the team’s practices on Monday or Tuesday.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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