The UNCP wrestling team picked up a huge win on the road against a former conference opponent when they took down the Wolves of Newberry College at the Eleazar Arena in Newberry, SC on Feb. 4 in a 23-17 victory, thanks to some clutch performances by some of their usual All-American suspects.
The victory marked the second victory in a row for the Braves not just in the season, but also in the series with the Wolves. It also broke a nine-match winning streak for Newberry, whom struggled against nationally ranked opponents this season but remained victorious. They experienced their first bitter taste of defeat since Dec. 2 of last year.
Once again All-American Nick Daggett, who is ranked sixth in the nation, set the tone and gave his team the first points and lead of the match with his slim 8-6 decision victory at 125 pounds. The Braves did not relinquish the lead the rest of the contest.
Freshman Ronnie Pietro kept the ball rolling with his commanding 17-0 tech fall win at 133 pounds. The Wolves got on the board at 141 pounds, but senior Kaleb Warner would snatch the momentum right back and put the Braves up 14-3 with his second period pin at the 149-weight class.
Newberry responded with a victory pin of their own in the 157-pound bout when redshirt junior Tyler Makosy got put on his back in overtime and reduced UNCP’s advantage to 13-9.
However, the Black and Gold went on to win three straight matches that was kicked off by No.2 ranked All-American Rodney Shepard who put the Braves up 17-9 with his 19-9 major decision victory at 165 pounds.
Senior Faris Teia extended the team’s lead to an 11-point margin when he edged out his opponent for the minute of riding time needed to secure his 3-2 decision triumph. All-American Brandon Sloop, who’s ranked No.7 in the nation, scored the last points for the Braves with his 4-1 decision win at 184 pounds to bring their final point total to 23.
Newberry closed out the match with a pair of victories at the 197 and 285-pound bouts with a 5-4 decision at 197 and a second period pin in the heavy weight bout.