SHINGLE SPRINGS — Ryan Redhair’s task was crystal clear for Wednesday’s final bout at the intra-county matchup between Oak Ridge and host Ponderosa.
To protect his team’s narrow one-point lead, the Trojan 145-pounder needed to win and left nothing to chance, pinning Bruin Colin Hustrulid in an outcome that didn’t count; followed by a 16-7 major decision that did — cementing Oak Ridge’s thrilling 33-29 Delta River League victory.
Hustrulid, bumped up in a strategic move, gave his all in the Bruins’ attempt to overcome their decision to forfeit 138s to Brandon Claiborne. The maneuver thrust Troy ahead 30-29 and paid early dividends as Hustrulid built a 4-2 advantage and still led midway into the second period before Redhair rallied.
Takedown and near fall points put Redhair in front and he pressed Hustrulid to the mat for the last-second fall that sent Oak Ridge and its fans into euphoric celebratory mode — reversed when the referee agreed that the pin came too late, eliciting boos from the Trojan faithful.
“As coach I was watching the scoreboard (clock) — not the actual pin — but heard the pin (granted) before time had expired,” said Casey Rhyan who rightly argued on behalf of his team and Redhair. “What was most impressive was (Redhair) going back out there after getting the pin. He told me, ‘coach I’m ready to wrestle.’”
With a reprieve, Hustrulid reversed to open the third to inch closer but Redhair ultimately tacked on five additional points to prevail, reigniting another Oak Ridge celebration.
“He was getting tired so I pushed on to get the pin. I wasn’t disappointed the ref felt time had run out. I just thought ‘I need to wrestle the third period and win it,’” Redhair said. “Going in it was just another match but they changed wrestlers because they thought they could beat me and that motivated me.”
According to Ponderosa coach Tyson Escobar, the Bruins only option was to counter Redhair with Hustrulid.
“We’ve had those matchups (138s/145s) before and lost both. Forfeiting was risky but we just needed to win one of the two and making the change gave us our best chance,” Escobar said. “It was real back-and-forth, no momentum for either team which made for a fun dual for the fans.
Though Rhyan characterized Wednesday’s match as “the best dual I’ve ever coached in,” that sentiment had to wait as Bruin Luc Deitchman (152) used the head and leg to pin Corbett Ralstin for a 6-0 advantage.
Trae Providence (160) followed with a solid 8-0 major decision of Kevan Cryan to extend to 10-0 before James Portilla (170) put the Trojans on the board with a hard-fought 6-1 win over TJ Shamblin.
Next at 182s, Oak Ridge’s Bishane Sagal lost his tilt at the end of the second against Josh Ferry but re-applied it in the third for the fall and six points.
At 195s, Sherman McVay’s walk-back and over-the-hip-throw of Ponderosa’s Joe DelValle in the second put the visitors up 15-10 but Kyle Jennings (220) got three back with a short-time takedown of Patrick Irwin for the 3-1 win.
The Bruins went ahead when Nathaniel Moody (HWT) used the head and arm to roll Trojan Austin Hamilton and extended at the start of the lightweights when Austin Ward (106) posted the 9-0 major decision over Jack Likins.
“He (Hamilton) liked to use throws but once I figured that out I used it against him,” Moody said. “We were out of it tonight and didn’t wrestle to our ability. Oak Ridge beat us on the scoreboard but I don’t think they’re a better team.”
Oak Ridge trimmed four from its deficit as Josh Ploke (113) controlled TJ Holloway for the 11-3 major win but Zach Miller countered by decisioning Ricky Mello 8-2.
Trailing 26-19, Trojan Christian Portilla dominated Pre Deitchman for the 16-0 technical fall as Wednesday’s outcome filtered down to the final three matches.
At 132s, Ponderosa’s Chad Reese won a 3-2 defensive standoff with Zach McGillis to make the score 29-24 Bruins. The forfeit to Claiborne made it 30-29 Oak Ridge and set the stage for the Redhair-Hustrulid finale.
“They (Trojans) all did a good job for the most part staying off their backs,” Rhyan said. “That’s a concern against Ponderosa … when they beat us it’s because they pin us.”
Notes: Prior to the match Ponderosa honored seniors Holloway, Providence, Moody and William Basch. Due to realignment, Wednesday was the final league dual between the schools. The Bruins wrestled without starters Zach Velasquez and Elan Tubbs. Ponderosa and Oak Ridge are both 2-1 in league.