Wednesday, 11 December 2019 22:49

Raiders face tough competition, drop both matches in SAC opener

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Head coach Earl Nicholson said his wrestlers didn't compete with a lot of confidence in Wednesday's SAC opener. Head coach Earl Nicholson said his wrestlers didn't compete with a lot of confidence in Wednesday's SAC opener. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

SOUTHERN PINES — A productive start to the Richmond Senior High School wrestling team’s season met its first speed bump of the winter as the Raiders opened Sandhills Athletic Conference play on Wednesday.

On the road at Pinecrest High School, the Raiders competed in a match against the host Patriots and another against Hoke County High School. Richmond would lose both contests, seeing its overall record drop to 11-5 and 0-2 in SAC play.

By far its toughest outing through four events this season, the Raiders fell to the Bucks 30-49, before struggling against the Patriots in a 3-75 decision.

“We didn’t wrestle Pinecrest with a lot of confidence,” head coach Earl Nicholson said. “A lot of the kids were thinking about how good their opponents were instead of what they needed to do.

“Joey defeated one of their up-and-coming lightweights,” he said of his son Joey Nicholson. “In the Hoke County match, there were a number of 50-50 matches and we managed to lose each one.”

The one bright spot for the Raiders was senior 126-pounder Joey Nicholson, who won both of his matches. The lone Raider to get a sweep on the night, Nicholson’s two wins kept him perfect on the season and he improved to 16-0, 2-0 SAC.

Against Pinecrest, Nicholson battled Riley Merchant for three rounds, and emerged with a 7-5 minor decision victory for the Raiders’ three points in the match. Facing off against Hoke County’s Noah Allen, Nicholson made quick work in the first round to pin his Buck opponent.

Four of Richmond’s five wins against the Bucks would come from pinfall victories. Joining Nicholson were junior Hector Castro (138-pound) who pinned Evan Stephens-McIntosh in just 1:20, senior Austin Gallops (160-pound) defeated Jamal Williams in 1:44, and sophomore Andres Sanchez (120-pound) took just 25 seconds to pin James Brown.

The other six points were earned by freshman Christan Sanchez via a forfeit. In their match against the Patriots, the Raiders were pinned 11 times. 

“The next two days (in practice) I will have a high focus on the varsity wrestlers,” Nicholson closed.

Richmond’s dual tournament this Saturday has been canceled. The Raiders’ next competition will be the “Battle at the Creek” tournament at Mallard Creek High School on Dec. 21 and 22.


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Kyle Pillar

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

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_