LHS reverses trend on mat

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lakeland High School’s wrestling program rarely registers wins as a team since low participation forces it to forfeit multiple weight classes. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers are on a three-match winning streak.

After claiming their first win of the season on Jan. 8 against King’s Fork High School, Lakeland traveled to Menchville High School for a tri-match on Saturday. The Cavs defeated their host, 60-18, and then toppled Bruton High School 42-24.

“I felt really good about today,” Lakeland head coach Jamaal Jones said Saturday evening. “It gives us three wins on the season as a team, and hopefully, we will have more.”

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Helping fuel the Cavs’ success was Jones’ decision to bump Devin Harden and Nick Battaglia up a weight class.

The change was mostly to fill voids created by the absence of usual 145-pound starter Blade Hubbard and his backup, Seth Rice. Hubbard tweaked his shoulder against Hickory High School and was advised to get rest, while Rice was recovering from a mild concussion.

Harden and Battaglia wrestled at 138 and 145, respectively. In each match, they pinned their opponents in less than two minutes. Jones said they really showed their improvement and maturity on the mat.

“Overall, I was really proud of the team today,” he said.

Travis Jones wrestled in the heavyweight division against Bruton’s Jack Sadler.

“I think this kid was 284 (pounds), and Travis was only 226,” Coach Jones said.

Jones pinned Sadler in 3:38.

Some junior varsity wrestlers were also brought up for Saturday’s tri-match to gain varsity experience. This included sophomore second-year wrestler Austin Branch at 182 pounds, freshman first-year wrestler Hunter Ethridge at 220 and freshman second-year wrestler Adam Worley at 132.

All three won their matches against Menchville by forfeit. Against Bruton, Branch and Ethridge were pinned, and Worley won again by forfeit.

Saturday’s event was an encouragement to Coach Jones.

“I feel good, I feel confident about the rest of this season and competing against other schools,” he said. Jones expects a wrestler to fill the void at the 120-pound weight class, helping the team avoid all but two forfeits per competition.

“If he’s able to return to the team, then we will only be giving up 152 and 170,” he said.

Lakeland visited Heritage High School on Wednesday and will participate in the Phoebus Invitational on Saturday at Phoebus High School.

Following are Lakeland’s results from Saturday’s tri-match at Menchville High School:

Lakeland 60, Menchville 18

106-(M) forfeit; 113-Cooper (M) pinned Kevin Dale (L) in 1:48; 120-(L) forfeit; 126-(M) forfeit; 132-(M) forfeit; 138-Devin Harden (L) pinned Spivak (M) in 1:12; 145-Nick Battaglia (L) pinned Struble (M) in 0:53; 152-(L) forfeit; 160-Jacob Marshall (L) pinned Collett (M) in 1:18; 170-double forfeit; 182-(M) forfeit; 195-(M) forfeit; 220-(M) forfeit; 285-(M) forfeit

Lakeland 42, Bruton 24

106-(B) forfeit; 113-(B) forfeit; 120-double forfeit; 126-Bruce Odom (L) pinned Callaham (B) in 5:51; 132-(B) forfeit; 138-Devin Harden (L) pinned K. Smith (B) in 1:30; 145-Nick Battaglia (L) pinned I. Graves (B) in 1:49; 152-double forfeit; 160-Stoner (B) pinned Jacob Marshall (L) in 3:35; 170-double forfeit; 182-Green (B) pinned Austin Branch (L) in 0:21; 195-N. Boites (B) pinned Melvin Porter (L) in 2:21; 220-Fyffe-Blair (B) pinned Hunter Ethridge (L) in 0:13; 285-Travis Jones (L) pinned Sadler in 3:38