By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s wrestlers opened their seasons last Thursday with wins over Robbinsville and Rabun Gap, Georgia at the SM gym.
The Mustangs defeated Robbinsville 45-36 in the first match. It wasn’t decided until the final weight class when SM’s Isaac Gunter pinned Willie Riddle in the second period at 138 pounds.
“We faced perennial 1-A powerhouse Robbinsville,” Coach Tony Moody said. “This was a closely contested match.”
The match of the night came at 195 pounds where SM’s Will Frady edged Kyle Fink of the Black Knights 3-2 in overtime. They were both state runners-up last year with Frady in 2-A and Fink in 1-A.
“The match didn’t disappoint,” Moody said.
In addition to Gunter, Mustangs winning by pin were Ki French (160) and Sam Hudson (120).
SM wrestlers winning by forfeit were Jadon Cole (170), Danner Hill (220), Ethan Grasty (285) and Hunter Lassister (132).
“It has been many years since Smoky Mountain has beaten Robbinsville in wrestling,” Moody said. “This was a great win for the program.”
The Mustangs topped Rabun Gap 53-30.
“It was another tough match for us, as we lost a close decision to them last year,” Moody said. “We had two really big wins in this dual.”
SM’s pins were by Elijah Rodriguez (145) and Danner Hill (220).
Hill defeated Al Aras at 220 pounds. Aras was last year’s state runner-up in Georgia.
“Hill did not care,” Moody said. “He has not wrestled since middle school, but you would not have known it, as he shot a double leg, took the kid to his back and pinned him in little over a minute. It was a great win.”
Hunter Lassister (132) took an 18-2 technical fall from Matt Campbell, who finished third in Georgia last year.
“Lassiter put on a clinic to score the tech fall,” the coach said.
Winning by forfeit for SM were Frady (195), Grasty (285), Juan Guerrero (106), Hayden Hooper (113), Hudson (120) and Gunter (138).
“It was a great start to the season,” Moody said of going 2-0 on opening night. “All of our guys got matches and looked good on the mat. We have a good mix of veterans and younger kids to fill out the lineup.”