SOUTHERN PINES — After losing in its Southeastern Conference opener to Hoke County, Richmond wrestling coach Earl Nicholson warned of dropping another match and missing out on qualifying for the state tournament.
The team heeded Nicholson’s advice and took down Purnell Swett and Lumberton before coming face-to-face with Pinecrest Wednesday night.
The Patriots pulled out a 42-36 victory to force the Raiders to become scoreboard watchers the rest of the season. Richmond is now 2-2 in the SEC and Pinecrest improves to 3-0 in the league.
“We need some help now, but it could still happen,” Nicholson said about qualifying for the 4A dual team tournament. “Lumberton beat Hoke in a nonconference match and Hoke could beat Pinecrest.”
Richmond almost pulled out the victory against Pinecrest to eliminate the need for Nicholson to search high and low for some assistance to help his team finish second in the SEC.
Dalton Faurot pinned his opponent, McLane Alston, in the 170-pound class to pull the Raiders to within six points at 30-24 with four contests remaining. Faurot said he saw the score and knew what he had to do against Alston.
“I figured I had to go out and pin him,” Faurot said. “I thought I was over to wrestle (Excell) Rider, but I got a new guy instead. I didn’t know much about him.”
After Faurot’s win, the Patriots responded with pinfall victories by Bryson Thomas over Zavier Covington at 182 and Chase Patton against Josh Conrad at 195 to clinch the win. Conrad was a fill-in for Gerald Bethea, who missed the match because of an illness.
“We needed a win at 106, 152 or 160 and I knew we were in real trouble when we lost them. We needed one of them for sure,” Nicholson said. “I was hoping we would win at 195 with Josh, but his opponent was too big and strong for him.”
Richmond’s Kempton Wall and David Watkins closed out the match with pinfall victories at 220 and 285, respectively. Also earning wins for the Raiders on the night were Gary Blue, who pinned his opponent at 132, and Bryan Marsh and Trinity Hunt. March and Hunt grabbed forfeit wins.
Richmond is scheduled to return to the mats Saturday at the Eagle Invitational hosted by East Montgomery.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.