Huston’s pin sends Hawks over Wildcats

FRONT ROYAL – Skyline senior Josiah Huston had just one thing on his mind as he awaited his turn in the match-ending 170-pound bout of the Hawks’ dual at cross-town rival Warren County on Tuesday evening.

“Pin,” Huston said. “That’s it, just pin. Everything pin. Pin, pin, pin. That’s it.

“It’s the last dual meet I’m going to have with Warren County for the rest of my life. Might as well end it with a bang, huh?”

Huston did.

Knowing that a pin – and only a pin – in the 170-pound finale would give Skyline the win over the Wildcats, Huston delivered. His second-period fall against Warren County senior Jackie Beglane capped a successful rally through the middleweights by the Hawks, which ended with Skyline claiming a 34-33 win in a thrilling finish.

Beglane, wrestling a notch above his usual 160-pound class, made Huston work for his 14th pin of the season.

Huston scored a quick takedown seconds into the first period, but Beglane did enough from the bottom for the remainder of the opening frame to avert further damage. Huston chose to start the second period in a neutral position after Beglane deferred the option, and he found his opening about 30 seconds in when Beglane attempted a throw.

Huston smoothly reversed Beglane’s attempt near the edge of the circle and steadily applied enough pressure over the next 20 seconds from the top position to get Beglane’s shoulders to the mat with 1:07 showing on the clock.

“I got double-unders on him and he tried to throw me. Nobody throws me,” said Huston, who improved to 32-3 with the win. “I just drove him until he was on his back. All I could think was pin. That’s all I wanted to do.”

Huston’s win came at the end of Skyline’s rally from a 30-16 deficit, a run that saw the Hawks win four of the final five bouts.

After Will Spencer’s first-period pin on Anthony Robledo in the 132-pound match gave Warren County the 14-point lead, the Hawks got a 12-6 win from Tyrelle Robinson (138) and a win via forfeit from Noah Goss (145) to pull within 30-25.

The Hawks then got a huge boost in the 152-pound match, as senior Caleb VanDoren squeezed out a 3-2 win over Tyler Shanholtz, his first win in three career tries against the Warren County senior.

The two wrestlers battled to a scoreless stalemate in the first period before VanDoren earned two points on a takedown midway through the second period. VanDoren seized a late 3-2 lead when Shanholtz was penalized for stalling with 40 seconds left in the third period, and the Skyline senior thwarted two takedown attempts by Shanholtz over the final 20 seconds of the period. Both times VanDoren was able to control Shanholtz’s arm to prevent him from gaining a favorable position with both wrestlers down on the mat.

“It was a close match all the way through. He’s a real tough kid. Right there at the end he took a quick single. There was 20 seconds. He was pretty gassed though because it was a long, intense match,” VanDoren said.

“I just kept head position the whole time and stayed there until he either wanted to get up or just end it there.”

With Warren County still leading 30-28 with two matches remaining, Wildcats senior Tristan Ward had a chance to seal a team win with a pin in the 160-pound bout against Luke Naccash.

Ward nearly did just that, as he reversed Naccash’s throw attempt in the third period and nearly got the pin midway through the frame, but Naccash fought off the fall and forced Ward and the Wildcats to settle for a 12-7 decision and a 33-28 lead.

“It was pretty aggravating. Just being really tired and knowing that you can just end it right there, and then slipping, it hurts,” said Ward, who was one of three Warren County seniors to celebrate individual wins on the Wildcats’ Senior Night.

Both teams did plenty of strategic lineup shuffling on Tuesday night, beginning with the match-opening bout at 182 pounds.

Warren County was without usual starters Zach Smith (195 pounds) and D.J. Almarode (220), prompting head coach Matt Wadas to use senior Jacob Schneider at 182 pounds, a class above his usual 170-pound weight.

Schneider gave the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with his third-period pin of Isaiah Washington.

“We had to shuffle because otherwise we would’ve had to forfeit and I didn’t want to give up any forfeits right away,” Wadas said. “When I juggled it kind of forced [Skyline head coach Matt Keel’s] hand to juggle back. I think it would be awesome to see a straight-up, straight-up lineup but in wrestling you can’t control some of that. That’s part of the sport and it was good. It was a chess game. It was fun.”

Skyline junior Keith Sanker beat Nathan Johnson, 9-8, in the 195-pound match, and Warren County’s Jarret Dipatre got a pin against Zach Atkins, who was making his first career varsity start for the Hawks.

Skyline senior Gerren Butler responded with a second-period pin over Connor McMackin in the heavyweight match. McMackin had built a 7-2 lead in the first period, but Butler tripped McMackin for a takedown in the second period before netting the pin at 3:19.

A pin by Warren County senior Brett Binnix (106 pounds) and a Zach Beckner win via forfeit at 113 gave the Wildcats a 24-9 lead.

Hawks senior Justin Cornwell – who has been wrestling at 113 pounds this season – took advantage of his more favorable matchup with Connor Jost in the 120-pound bout with a 14-6 major decision, and Skyline’s Kurt Boswell earned a 12-7 win over John Coffron at 126 pounds.

“We’ve got a losing record and they don’t. That’s an upset,” said Keel, who added that he’s noticed an improved attitude in his team since they returned from a Conference 28 meet two weekends ago.

“We worked hard and they responded. My boys stepped up and they responded, and it showed tonight.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com