Alex Thompson only weighs 169 pounds, but his Goochland wrestling team had to move him up to the 182 weight class for Wednesday’s quad meet at Cosby High School featuring three powerhouses in Matoaca, Midlothian and the hosting Titans.
He was also going on just two days of practice – only four days prior, he and his Goochland football teammates had concluded a standout 12-2 season in the state semifinals – and he had to go up against Matoaca's Thaddeus Boyd after all four of his teammates who wrestled before him went down against the Warriors on pins.
As his match wore on, it looked liked Boyd would continue that streak. He took-down Thompson for a quick lead. Thompson fell into a 7-0 hole after two near-falls.
In fact, Thompson was on his back trying to avoid the pin…
…when he pulled off the surprise turnaround.
In a flash he flipped from the floor to the top, pivoting Boyd onto his back.
“Alex is a big-move wrestler,” Goochland head coach Mike Nadder said. “He’s always looking for a big move and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when you’re wrestling up and you’re giving up a lot of weight.”
His game-changer was a simple roll-through – he felt the weight shift, and he hit the roll.
“I think he caught the guy off-guard, and he’s strong,” Nadder said of Thompson. “And once he gets you on your back, chances are you’re not coming off your back.”
Within a matter of seconds, the referee slapped the mat, freezing the first-period clock with 31 seconds remaining.
Thompson rose to his feet having won by pin.
“I was real proud of how he performed tonight considering the weight he was giving up,” Nadder said.
Thompson's triumph was the one bright spot in Goochland's meet-opening 54-24 loss to Matoaca at Cosby High School, as the Warriors won all but one of their contested matchups by pins.
Thompson was held out of the Bulldogs' 60-6 loss to Cosby - he would've faced a force in Simeone Holmes, and because Thompson was giving up too much weight and going on just two days of practice, Nadder couldn’t afford him getting hurt – but Jon Daly at 170 picked up a hard-fought win against the Titans.
Daly and his opponent Cole Giegling each delivered a takedown to tie the match at 2-2, but Daly in the second period took control on top, gripped Giegling's left upper arm and turned him onto his back before fighting to stay on top. Daly earned the pin with 47 seconds left in the period.
The senior capped his strong night with another big victory to spark a stretch in which the Bulldogs won three of their final four contested matchups in a 61-18 team loss to Midlothian. Facing Alec Townsend, Daly worked his second shot at his leg into a lead-getting takedown. Townsend soon tied it 2-2, but Daly struck back with a reversal and nearly worked that move into a pin – the referee tapped the mat right after he got tapped on the back to signal the end of the first period.
But Daly responded by rolling-out a takedown. He completed the pin 17 seconds inside the second stanza.
“He’s probably one of the hardest workers in the room,” Nadder said. “He’s put his time in – he’s had his losses, so he’s now getting his chance to get some wins and be on the other side…just getting his hand raised more often than not.”
Ethan Ford, who wrestled at 195, worked hard all summer, and he stayed at it through two tough matches against his Matoaca and Cosby opponents to parlay a takedown into a pin of Midlothian’s William Notarianni.
Connor Duncan, who this year earned First Team All-Region and All-District honors at offensive lineman as part of the Bulldogs' football team, entered the wrestling season having lost 50 pounds since last year. Like Ford, Duncan took control on a takedown; he sealed the deal 38 seconds into his 220 weight-class matchup with a pin of Will Haemker.
Outside of those victories, it was a learning night for a Bulldogs unit that just this year transitioned from Class 2 to Class 3. Most of the team’s starting lineup consists of second-year wrestlers, and they were going up against opponents who have been wrestling for years and are competing for programs in Classes 5 and 6.
“We’re making due with the numbers we have…it was a disappointing night obviously when you lose, but we had some kids do some good things that we feel like we’re on the right track and we’re heading in the right direction,” Nadder said.
One of those second-year wrestlers, Grant Heidel, whom Nadder said “just doesn’t back down” and has done a lot of work in the offseason, endured into the second period before getting pinned by state finalist John Bolstad.
“His time is coming,” Nadder said of Heidel; it’s coming for a lot of his wrestlers, he added, noting how Riley Hite was wrestling up at 145 pounds. Max Moreno at 132 also fought hard. In a meet that saw several wrestlers get pinned in the first period, Moreno didn't go down until more than a minute into the second against both Matoaca and Cosby; he also endured to the end of regulation in a 12-7 loss by decision to Midlothian's Robbie Painter.
“Overall we had a lot of things we did well,” Nadder said. “We’ll go back to the room and we will try to fix the things we didn’t do so well; then we’ll see what happens – it’s an ongoing process.”
Goochland vs Matoaca
106: Mauns (MAT) win/FFT
113: Woody (MAT) win/FFT,
120: Browning (GOOC) win/FFT
126: Johnson (MAT) pins Smith :59 1st
132: Nickolas Garcia (MAT) pins Moreno 1:15 2nd
138: Elijah Garcia (MAT) pins Heidel 1:16 1st
160: Socarras (GOOC) win/FFT
170: Esquivel (MAT) pins Daly 1:39 1st
182: Thompson (GOOC) pins Boyd 1:29 1st
195: Jaydon Burgos (MAT) pins Ford 1:47 1st
220: Keyshawn Burgos (MAT) pins Duncan 1:31 1st
HWT: Gordon (MAT) win/FFT
Goochland vs Cosby
106: Williams (COS) win/FFT
113: Hall (COS) win/FFT
120: Lilovich (COS) pins Browning 1:40 1st
126: Burch (COS) pins Blake Smith :27 2nd
132: Annet (COS) pins Moreno 1:31 2nd
138: Thayer (COS) pins Heidel 1:01 1st
145: Chase Smith (COS) pins Hite 1:26 1st
160: Chase Giegling (COS) pins Socarras :48 2nd
170: Daly (GOOC) pins Cole Giegling 1:13 2nd
182: Holmes (COS) win/FFT
195: Powell (COS) pins Ford :39 1st
220: Gray (COS) pins Duncan 1:29 1st
Goochland vs. Midlothian
106: Nuckols (MID) win/FFT
113: Lilly (MID) win/FFT
120: Lee (MID) md. Browning 11-2
126: Folds (MID) pins Smith 1:22 1st
132: Painter (MID) dec. Moreno 12-7
138: Bolstad (MID) pins Heidel 1:18 2nd
145: Gregory (MID) pins Hite 1:15 2nd
152: Barry (MID) win/FFT
160: Ky (MID) win/FFT
170: Daly (GOOC) pins Townsend :17 2nd
182: Schwartz (MID) pins Thompson 1:28 1st
195: Ford (GOOC) pins Notarianni 1:09 1st
220: Duncan (GOOC) pins Haemker :38 1st