ROCKINGHAM — Head coach Earl Nicholson and the Richmond wrestling team recently “cleaned house” over the last month and it showed in Thursday night’s conference meet.
The Raiders, now without any seniors on the roster, were dominated by both Purnell Swett (59-15) and Lumberton (58-12) on their home floor. Junior Austin Gallops was the only Raider to win both matches.
“I wasn’t shocked because we just kind of cleaned house. So we’re just going to go with our youth and rebuild for next year,” Nicholson said. “And I like what I see. A lot of them have a lot of fight, they were just outmatched a little tonight.”
Gallops, in the 152-pound weight class, opened the night by winning a decision against Purnell Swett to give Richmond three team points. His second victory was worth six points, as he battled back from a 2-10 deficit to pin his Lumberton opponent with 1:09 left in the second period.
“He’s going to be one of our greats before he leaves here,” Nicholson said. “He wants it and he won’t quit. It could be two seconds left (in the period) and you can have him an inch from the mat, and he’s still trying to pin you.
“You’ve got to love kids like that,” he added.
The only other Raiders to score points were Bryant Cole, Zachariah Hamilton, Steven Morales, Joey Nicholson.
Cole, at 126, built up a 13-2 lead over the first two periods in his match with Lumberton before pinning his opponent six seconds into the third period. Hamilton ended the Lumberton match with an 8-2 decision win and both Morales and Joey Nicholson won by pinfall in their respective Purnell Swett bouts.
Travis Short almost escaped with a victory in his 113-pound match against Lumberton, building a three-point lead in the last stanza, but the match quickly slipped away and he was pinned with 14 seconds left.
“I’m just trying to get them to a point where they can complete a match. Get through that whole six minutes and then they can worry about trying to beat these better wrestlers,” Nicholson explained. “We’ve got to get ourselves in better shape.”
Richmond will look to turn things around when it visits East Montgomery for a multi-team meet on Saturday, Jan. 13.
“All the kids out here right now, they want it. It’s making coaching more enjoyable,” Nicholson added.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at email@example.com. For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.