Trojans fall to Bruins, 47-23

By: Matt Long
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With Vince Waldhauser out of the lineup and two forfeits at 189 and 215 pounds, Oak Ridge High’s wrestling team entered Wednesday dual meet with Ponderosa with their backs to the wall. The Trojans fought, but not nearly hard enough, as Ponderosa came away with a 47-23 win, avenging last year’s league dual meet loss to the Trojans. “It’s the middle of our season, not the end,” Oak Ridge coach Rocco Cardinale said after the match. “I asked the boys, 'where are we going to go from here; how hard are we going to work.'” That was Cardinale’s message to his team. He figured that the Bruins were a little ahead of his squad heading into the match and it showed. Ponderosa won seven of the 12 matches, four by pin, two by major decision and a third in overtime. Oak Ridge started the match with three consecutive wins, but won only twice more. Kyle West earned a 21-8 major decision victory wrestling up a weight class at 145 pounds. Kyle Sundby and Nick Rohrer followed with pins at 152 and 160 pounds, respectively. Sundby built a 4-0 lead before his pin 50 seconds into the second period, while Rohrer waited until six seconds were left in his match, which he led 17-4, when he put his opponent on his back for good. Other than the heavyweight match, most of the matches were one-sided. Oak Ridge’s Kavon Tillotson battled Ponderosa’s Paul Buchanan to a 1-1 draw at the end of six minutes of wrestling, but Buchanan pulled out the 3-1 victory in overtime with the deciding takedown. After the match Cardinale talked to his team at length. “He just let us know that we’ve got to work a lot harder in practice,” Rohrer said. “We’re not training hard enough. I’m very disappointed with how we wrestled tonight. I thought we could have wrestled a lot harder.” West said the forfeits made things difficult, but shouldn’t be an excuse. “I thought everyone fought hard, but we didn’t have our strongest lineup,” West said. “It’s a humbling loss, but I think it’s good for us right now. All this does is motivates us. We’re going to see Ponderosa again. I know we’re going to rebound.”