WRESTLING: Wolverines dominate Blue Ridge, Shelby in home debut

Published 10:05 am Thursday, November 30, 2023

By Jed Blackwell

Polk County’s first night on its new wrestling mat was just about perfect.

The Wolverines got a pair of one-sided wins in a tri-match to open competition on the new mat, defeating Blue Ridge 61-15 in the first match of the night and polishing off Shelby 70-10 in the nightcap.

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“It’s good to get them tonight,” Polk County coach Thomas Hensley said of the wins. “I think we wrestled pretty well. There was a little bit of a lack of urgency at times, but we’re young and we’ve just got to keep working on that.

“They’re a fun group to work with. Every day it seems like we get in there and get focused and get a lot better. We’ve had some good practices, we’ve been really good in competition settings, and I’d just like for us to continue to get better every single day.”

Polk County got wins up and down the lineup in both matches, but the win over Shelby was particularly impressive. The Wolverines got extra team points in every match they won that was contested on the mat. That included pinfall victories from Amon Villarreal at 120 pounds, Styler Blackwell at 165, Donte Tingling at 175, Zalen McCraw at 190, Jadyn Virgil at 215 and Efrain Rivera at 106. Jacob Ed recorded a technical fall at 150 pounds, while Polk County won by forfeit at 113, 126, 138, 157 and Heavyweight.

Hensley said the bonus points, and the drive to record them, would pay off down the line.

“It might not matter tonight, but it’s good to be in that mindset,” Hensley said. “Against Blue Ridge, for example, we had a guy up by seven, so we let him up on purpose, then took him down again to win by eight and get that extra team point (for a major decision). A lot of people don’t get that, but that’s what we want.”

With two wins in the books, Hensley likes where the Wolverines stand at the moment.

“We’re going to keep getting better,” he said. “We’re going to keep improving the culture, and improving everything. There are little things that keep me up at night that we’ve got to get better at, but that’s my job.

“I’m big on the little details. But these kids are buying in, they’re doing a great job, and I’ve been really pleased with this group.”