Smallest Warrior sets stage for big win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

On Wednesday night, Justin Funaro stormed into the Nansemond River wrestling room, tore off his headguard, and sat down to wait for his coach and teammates. The junior Warrior had suffered a 16-3 defeat to Hickory’s Sean Katz in the opening match of the night’s first meet, denying Funaro his first victory of the season and setting the stage for a 49-24 Hawk victory.

&uot;I don’t care about that!&uot; the 103-pounder told his teammates. &uot;I’m going to win my next match!&uot; While Hickory took on Deep Creek in the second round of the tri-school match, Funaro and his teammates readied to bring home their first Southeastern District win of the season.

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After the Hawks defeated the Hornets, Funaro stepped onto the mat to take on Jeremy Underwood. Then he made his promise reality.

Funaro slammed Underwood onto his stomach for a takedown and 2-0 lead. Underwood nearly escaped, but Funaro took him down again and nearly pinned him for an 8-0 lead as the first period ended. Funaro started the second period on top, but Underwood escaped, and leaped at his opponent.

Funaro was ready, hooking his arms under Underwood’s for a double-underhook suplex that landed the Hornet on his back. Funaro anchored his small body atop his opponent, holding him down for a pin in 2:26.

He’d won his first match of the year. When all was said, done, and pinned, the Warriors had their first district win of 2003-4, a 44-30 victory.

&uot;Losing my first match gave me determination,&uot; Funaro said. &uot;I’ve been anxious the whole day. I just wanted to get out there and wrestle.&uot;

Tommy Bullock was forfeited the 112-class, and John Kleps prepared to battle Justin Adams at 119. Adams took the freshman Warrior down quickly, but Kleps escaped and scored a takedown of his own to end the period ahead 3-2. Kleps spent the entire second period on his stomach, but opened the third with a takedown to go ahead 5-2 with 1:13 left.

Kleps held Adams down on his stomach, but the Hornet was able to maneuver himself into a sitting position. As the clock ticked down to 20 seconds, Kleps was penalized a point for locking his hands. He started the action on top, and held down Adams for the victory,

&uot;I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to hold this kid down!’&uot; Kleps said. &uot;I was going for a pin, but it wasn’t easy.&uot;

Nathan Martie (125) and Ryan Linton (130) won their matches by forfeit to extend the lead to 27-0, and Brent Christie cradled Bobby Miller for a pin in 2:16.

Matt Wolfe defeated Chris Suarez for Deep Creek’s first victory, and the Warriors forfeited the 145 pound match. Brandon Aston raced to an 8-0 first-period lead over Patrick Douglas in the 152-class and appeared to have him pinned, but the officials ruled that Douglas’ shoulders had not been on the mat.

Aston took Douglas down again for a 10-0 lead to open the third period, then flipped himself down his opponent’s body. He caught Douglas in a headscissors, then placed his shoulders down for a pin 24 seconds into the period.

Brian Hawk was forfeited the 160-match, and Deep Creek won the last three to finish at 44-30 (River received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that resulted in the deduction of a point).

While the Warriors fell in the early match, they had several individual victories to celebrate. Aston sweated out an 11-4 victory over Brandon Miller, and Hawk pinned Chris Kyalls. Ben Streetman held off Jimmy Illardi at 189 pounds, and Jason Brown (215) and Dustin Dowell (heavyweight) were forfeited their matches.

In other local action, Lakeland fell 70-5 to visiting Great Bridge. Thomas Harper was the sole Cavalier to win his respective match, a technical fall over Matt Richardson in heavyweight competition. The Cavaliers also fell to Western Branch (final score unreported).