Feris Teia dominates his opponent in his match in the 184l-weight class. Photo by Joshua Reed
The Braves faced off against the Cobras of Coker College on Feb. 6 on Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court in the first of their final two home dual meets of the season before the NCAA tournaments begin later this month.
The Black and Gold improved to 3-1 in Eastern College Athletic Conference play, keeping pace in the contention for a conference championship title in a ferocious night of wrestling. The home team hit the mat r
olling with a tenacious first period pin by freshman Nick Daggett, 125 lbs., who has now won five of his last six matches dating back to the Kutztown duals.
Redshirt sophomore Jayquon McEntyre followed up with perhaps his most impressive win of the season with a commanding 17-2 technical fall at the 133-weight division. Freshman Luke McDonough recorded the team’s third straight victory and extended the Braves’ lead 15-0 with his 14-2 major decision at the 141-weight class.
After that, redshirt sophomore Tyler Makosy put UNCP up 18-0 with his decisive 6-4 sudden death overtime win at the 149-division. The Braves suffered their first setback of the evening after redshirt senior Eric Milks was defeated 7-4. Milks essentially wrestled with one eye after suffering a laceration to his left eye in the first period.
The home team quickly responded as redshirt junior N.C. State transfer Rodney Shepard put on a take down clinic before securing the Brave’s second first pin of the night at the 165-weight class.
The final Brave to notch a win on the night, redshirt junior Feris Teia, recorded the team’s third first period pin by pinning down the shoulder blades of Coker’s Chris Coyle to the mat in a position similar to a contortionist or even that of a cobra enveloping its prey.
“Before the match we had a game plan to get after it and destroy those guys,” Teia said. “Don’t hold back and you follow the game plan and you hit first, they usually don’t retaliate so that was the game plan and I went in there and executed and the result was a first period pin.”
Head coach Othello Johnson said that in athletics one can’t take anything for granted, especially the momentum gained by teammates in previous bouts, but at the same time they should be focused on their own individual matchups.
Johnson said that his wrestlers are beginning to buy into what he and his staff preaches in every meet and every practice, which is that they should have the mentality going into every match that it is theirs to win not to lose.
“In sports you got to start off fast and force your opponent to play catch up. If you don’t start off fast you’ll be playing catch up and we try to preach that to our guys,” Johnson said. “It paid off for them tonight and I think it paid off for us on Friday night last week [versus Emanuel College], and hopefully it carries over going forward and into the postseason.”
With the NCAA postseason rapidly approaching, Teia believes that the keys to continued success going forward is to keep his composure as well as refining and perfecting his craft and techniques.
Through taking advantage of the additional opportunities to get in more work on the mat with his teammates and coaches has been an integral component in him being able to put his opponents away early like he did in this meet.