Bulldogs lose wrestling meet

Published 8:27 pm Monday, January 19, 2009

COURTLAND – The King’s Fork High wrestling team didn’t so much lose at Southampton on Monday as beat themselves before their bus ever left the Suffolk city limits.

Hamstrung by the absences of three competitors, the Bulldogs lost 48-30, the 18-point margin the exact amount created by the forfeits of those who were absent. A 103-pound competitor is suspended for missing practice and the team’s members at 125 and 135 pounds simply didn’t show up.

King’s Fork forfeited three other matches because of injuries, but it was the lack of dedication that had coach Brett Heberling rankled after the setback.

Email newsletter signup

“Kids without focus are what kills us,” said the first-year coach, a former Pennsylvania high school and college grappler who was a King’s Fork assistant last winter. “We have the numbers in the program to fill out a lineup but some guys don’t realize how important it is to show up for practice and matches.”

Those Bulldogs who did compete Monday turned in a masterful performance under the circumstances. King’s Fork pinned five opponents while suffering three pins itself, but the six holes in its lineup essentially gave the Indians a 36-point head start.

“For what we put on the mat today, we showed a lot of heart,” Heberling said. “We had eight guys and we still have an opportunity to win.”

That’s because the first three Bulldogs to wrestle, Rasheen Rawlins (119 pounds), David Hommell (125) and Jordan Billings (140) all scored pins. King’s Fork’s Matt Hommell (152) was pinned in the next match, but the score after his contest and with three forfeits included was only 24-18 for Southampton.

Had the final four Bulldogs produced pins, the match would have ended 42-42 and King’s Fork would have won on the first tiebreaker, which is most pins per team.

King’s Fork next sent out Donald Roberts (160), and he pinned his foe to keep the improbable dream alive. However R.J. Collins, usually a 160-pound competitor, was pinned in a 171-pound match and even a heavyweight victory by Logan Sorensen couldn’t save the Bulldogs.

Afterward, Heberling explained his dilemma when it comes to disciplining his team. Kick a kid off the squad and that’s potentially another hole in the lineup and more forfeited points, which hurts those Bulldogs still in good standing. But if team members realize they can skip practices and matches without punishment, why have a coach in the first place?

“It’s a fine line,” Heberling said, shaking his head. “All our guys are still learning and it’s not always just on the mat.”