WINSTON-SALEM — Mount Airy High School’s grapplers finished the Mount Tabor Super Duals tournament 5-4 after meeting nine teams on the mats Friday and Saturday.
Coach Steve Braunre reported that the 5-4 finish placed 1A Mount Airy tied for fifth place among the 12 participating schools, some of which are strong 3A and 4A teams. In addition to the Bears, wrestling were North Wilkes, Wilkes Central, Forbush, Leesville Road from Durham, East Forsyth, East Wilkes, Starmount, Surry Central, Northern Durham, West Stokes and Lexington.
Mount Airy won its first two matches Friday topping East Wilkes, 43-36, and 4A Mount Tabor, 47-30.
In its third match, the Bears fell to Northern Durham, 30-44.
It splits its fourth and fifth matches of the day, taking down Wilkes Central, 78-0, and then falling to Leesville Road in a close 36-38 match.
In Saturday’s competition on the mats, Mount Airy started the day off with a loss to North Wilkes, 24-50. But the Bears were able to turn the next two matches around, beating Starmount, 47-36, and Forbush, 46-27.
They lost in the final match to East Forsyth, 28-54.
Braune highlighted the success of several of Mount Airy’s grapplers who had standout performances during the weekend tournament.
Captain Landon Mumford at 170 pounds finished 8-1, as did Mason Timmerman at 220 lbs.
At heavyweight, Captain Brian Bennett finished his weekend 6-1. Shay Wilson, 145 lbs., was 7-2, while Dallas Smith at 160 lbs. and Andrew Moore at 152 lbs. were 6-2.
“Overall, we did well. As we get closer to Christmas, teams are more beat up so larger tournaments with more matches, you have injuries, and there are still football players still coming in to the season,” Braune said, explaining that some of the scores are misleading because they may include a number of forfeits due to injuries or sickness.
“There are wrestlers with busted shoulders and knees, and it is flu season,” he said, noting that Coach Michael Bodnar was out for the weekend with the flu leaving Braune as the sole coach for the super duals for Mount Airy. “Two (wrestlers) didn’t make the trip with the stomach bug.”
Braune said in Mount Airy’s lost to East Forsyth, the last match of the tournament, he gave East Forsyth 30 of its 54 points in forfeits due to injuries and sickness.
“The season changed and the temperatures are up and down,” the coach said. “We did well. In retrospect, with some of the kids that didn’t make the trip, we could have finished at 7-2.”
He said Mount Airy could have won the Leesville Road and North Wilkes matches, he believes, because 18 of North Wilkes’ 24 points were in forfeits.
“Head to head, we’re winning matches. If I wrestle 10 kids, seven of the 10 are winning,” he said.
Mount Airy’s season record is now 10-7 going into the conference season, which doesn’t begin until January. And Braune said the athletes could have close to 30 matches in before they even wrestle a conference team.
“You get better wrestling 3A and 4A teams,” he said. “I have a young team, and it is about getting on the mat and getting experience. We look forward to Christmas exams and Christmas break so we can get healthy.”
As for this weekend’s results, Braune said, “I’m real proud of the kids, of my boys, they left it all on the mat. They wrestled hard and I could ask for anything more.”
Mount Airy will host its first home match Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a trimatch with Rural Retreat, Va., and Magna Vista, Va.
Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1923.