HARTSVILLE – Newberry began its Eastern College Athletic Conference matchup at Coker in style, then used two clutch performances late in the dual to seal its win over Coker and keep its conference championship hopes alive in a 23-19 win Monday night at the DeLoach Center.
The Wolves applied relentless pressure early on to build a large lead. Newberry (12-9, 4-1 ECAC) opened with an 18-0 tech fall by Trung Duong in 4:25 to secure an early 5-0 lead over Coker (3-9. 0-6 ECAC).
But Newberry was far from done. Jordan Simpson needed just 58 seconds to secure his seventh pin of the season and run his record to 21-7, pushing the Wolves’ lead to 11-0. Moments later, Timmy Martinez’s fall four seconds before the first period buzzer sounded upped the lead to 17-0 as Newberry gained critical insurance points over the homestanding Cobras.
Coker was far from done, howeer. The Cobras took three consecutive bouts, including a forfeit at 157 pounds, to pull within four points at 17-13. The Wolves, wrestling without key contributors for the second consecutive dual due to injury, wrestled Tyler Wicken up a weight class at 149 pounds for the first time this season, losing a major decision to the Cobras, while Nick Young lost a 10-5 decision.
Huston Evans helped the Wolves to rebound with a 12-6 win for three critical team points, pushing the lead back to seven. The teams then traded 3-2 decisions, the second of which clinched the victory for Newberry as Cody Brundage outlasted Coker’s Robert Parland. Brundage chose the bottom entering the final period tied 2-2 and made the escape point hold up for the victory.
With the win, Newberry moves to 4-1 in ECAC action. A win over Emmanuel Thursday night inside Eleazer Arena would clinch a share of the ECAC title with Limestone, which concluded its league slate last Thursday night at 5-1, its lone loss coming to Newberry. The ECAC does not break ties in the regular season standings and would declare both teams co-champions should the Wolves and Saints finish tied atop the league standings.