Northview rallies over South's Patriots

Friday, January 10, 2003

The Northview Knights survived a strong finish by the Terre Haute South Braves to capture a dual meet wrestling match on Thursday night, 34-33.

Austin Staley came through at 130 pounds with a clutch 6-0 win over South's Dustin Whalen in the evening's final match to send the Knights to the team victory.

"That was probably the first time in four years that we've beaten them the way that we should," said Northview head coach Don Bryan. "In other years we may have had stronger teams, but we've always had to forfeit some classes and not come through."

The victory came on a Senior night for Northview that saw Nelson Norton and Justin Wilson honored for their dedication to the Knight wrestling program. The pair celebrated their final home dual match with a pair of victories. Norton won a decision in his match and Wilson came through with his 17th win of the year , an 18-10 decision at 189 pounds.

"That was a good win for 'Nelly' (Norton)," said Bryan afterwards. "I really liked his intensity tonight."

The Knights would need all of those wins despite rushing out to an early 25-3 team lead.

Derek Mroczek came through with a 9-2 decision at 140 pounds. He opened up a 5-0 lead in the first period before South's Naaman Gambill got a reverse to close the gap to 6-2 heading in the second period. Mroczek led 8-2 going into the third period and added one more point with an escape in the final period to get his 20th win of the year.

Brent Withers got an impressive pin in his match at 145. South's Brian Thomas lasted just 1:11 into the first period before Withers caught him to get the fall.

In the 152 match, Northview's Brent Withers and Ryan Mack staged a grueling battle that went the distance before Mack scored a late takedown to edge out to a 10-6 win. "That was just a gas match," commented Bryan afterwards. "I know it's disappointing for Brent (Withers) but he's really getting better and I think he just needs to get himself set for the end of the season."

At 160, Doug Porter came out fired up and dominated a 16-8 decision over Daniel Hellman.

Porter came out quick and scored a pair of quick takedowns on the way to a first period 8-3 advantage. In the second, Porter increased his lead to 10-4 with a late takedown heading into the final period and cruised the rest of the way.

Jeremiah Allen added a second period pin over South's Carl Doner to add to the Knight lead and Wilson's win maxed out the Northview team advantage at 25-3 before the Patriots began their rally.

South got big pins from their two state qualifiers, Joe Fitch at 215 and Rufus Pace at 275. Fitch pinned Tony Sambria and Pace got Tom Lucas each in the first period to close the team race to 25-15.

Northview got back on track with a quick pin by 103-pounder Austin Nicosin who got a 17 second pin over Tyler Woodward. Nicosin improved his season record to 15-7 this year and the Knights led 31-15 and looked in control despite a forfeit at 112 pounds. "That was the most intense I've seen Nicosin. He really came out and took care of business," noted Bryan.

Corey Grigsby took an 18-3 record into his match at 119 pounds but faced a solid opponent in Carlo Balmaseda who was 11-4 coming into the match.

Balmaseda would catch Grigsby early in the first period for a surprising pin that closed Northview's team lead to just 31-27. "We knew that the Balmaseda kid was good," said Bryan. "He beat Austin (Staley) when he was a sophomore. I just think it was one of those things were Grigsby got caught. I don't think it would happen again."

When Whitney King took a pin at 125, the Knights were trailing for the first time all match long at 33-31.

But as the crowd tuned up and the South wrestlers edged forward to encourage Whalen versus Staley. It was Northview's Staley that took care of business to get the Knight win.

"It was kinda a nice win for us," said Bryan afterwards. "I think we've outwrestled them the past couple of years but have lost. I still believe that we're young and about a year away, it's a shame we can't keep our seniors another year."

The Knights will have a week off before traveling to Greencastle next Thursday for a 6:30 p.m. match.

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