VACAVILLE — There’s nothing like a little intrigue in a high school wrestling match.
With his team giving up 12 points because of a pair of forfeits, Will C. Wood coach Thor Jensen decided to change his lineup – midway through the proceedings.
The switcheroo almost worked, but Armijo recovered to pull out a 37-31 victory in the Monticello Empire League dual match opener for both teams.
Jensen had originally planned to forfeit the 182-pound match to Amini Kapapa, but instead forfeited at 160 to Jorge Perez – “We were overmatched there,” the coach said – and bumped Markus Mourlot to 170 and Drake McKee to 182.
The forfeit to Perez put the Indians ahead to stay at 24-21 and Danny Charos upped the lead to 27-21 with a 4-2 win over Mourlot by getting a takedown with 21 seconds remaining, 4 seconds after his Wildcats opponent had tied it with an escape.
McKee pulled Wood close one more time by holding on for an 11-9 decision over Kapapa, setting up a crucial match at 195.
Armijo’s Billy Cimmino appeared to take control early, getting an almost immediate takedown and three-point near fall before Wood’s Jamal Heard fought off the pin.
It was 7-2 after the first round – and the second as Cimmino failed to escape.
Heard chose top position for the third round and several times nearly had Cimmino in a cradle before the Cimmino scored a reversal and late 2-point near fall for an 11-2 major decision.
“I expected a win from 170s or 182s and they slid some kids up,” Indians coach Cesar Correa said. “That kind of threw off our game plan. It came down to Billy’s match. He pulled it off. It was a good win.”
“It almost worked,” Jensen said of his lineup change. “I don’t think they anticipated that. . . . We needed to win one more match. It’s pretty tough giving up 12 points.”
The match started with a pair of pins, a win in 1 minute, 17 seconds by Wood’s Ryan Fisher at 106, and a triumph in 1:31 by Armijo’s Darius Levan at 113.
Houston Scibek then earned a key victory for the Indians at 120, scoring a reversal with 29 seconds left and tacking on a 3-point near fall for a 7-2 win over Wood’s Jeff Teel.
“The biggest match was Houston’s, stepping up and beating Teel,” Correa said. “Of all the matches, that set us up, it was a good momentum changer.”
The momentum stayed with the Wildcats for a bit as they opened a 18-9 lead on a pins by Cody Healer (126) and Royce Ramirez (132) in 5:03 and 2:50, respectively.
Cameron Hibbert righted the ship for the Indians with a pin in 1:55 at 138.
Armijo then tied it at 18 when Vishiv Singh scored a takedown with 20 seconds left for a 4-2 victory over Bailey Bechtel at 145.
Zach McKee gave Wood its last lead of the night by edging Ryan Cardos 10-7 at 152.
Then came the changes, which helped make an already good match that much more interesting.
“I felt we had a pretty good chance going in,” Correa said.
Wood won the JV match 48-27 with Armijo getting pins from Leonard Yalong at 138, Julio Gonzalez at 170 and Jordan Sandefur at heavyweight, a decision by Isaiah Dolcee at 160 and a forfeit to Chris Owen at 152.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.