ROCKINGHAM — As his team was rolling up the wrestling mats, Richmond Senior coach Earl Nicholson looked across the gymnasium and knew the outcome against Pinecrest was predestined.
“Obviously, we need middle school wrestling,” Nicholson said following the Raiders’ 66-12 loss to the Patriots. “What I have with four-year seniors like Jacob (Staub) and Deion (Davis), they have in 10th grade.”
The Raiders earned the first points of the night with a forfeit win at 106 pounds. The Patriots tied the match up when Irvin Enriquez pinned Gary Blue at the 1:07 mark of the first period. Randy Altman notched a pinfall victory 40 seconds into his match with Megan Lupold.
Altman’s win provided Richmond with its final points of the night as Pinecrest reeled off 11 straight victories, nine by pinfall.
“I’m not disappointed with the result,” Nicholson said. “I thought we would score at least 20 points tonight, but I’m still missing three starters right now. The heavyweight bout was a bit of a disappointment because I was counting on it.”
Richmond and Pinecrest both entered Wednesday’s contest 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference with the winner in the driver’s seat to earning the No. 1 seed out of the conference in the 4A state dual team tournament.
With the loss, the Raiders are now facing a must-win in their regular-season finale at home against Scotland. The Fighting Scots are 3-1 in the conference, losing to the Patriots.
This means with a victory next week either Richmond or Scotland will grab the conference’s other automatic qualifier, while the loser will have to wait to see if it will grab one of four wild-card berths.
Nicholson said: “We want to finish second, otherwise, we will probably face Jack Britt or Cary in the first round.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.