Monday, February 23, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Panther wrestlers win East

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Panthers’ wrestling team won the 7A/6A-Central/East Conference championship last Saturday at Searcy High School, and of the 13 Panther wrestlers that participated in the meet, six advanced to the finals in their respective weight classes.

Cabot seniors Michael Morgan and Erik Cooley, and junior Dillan Friesner finished first in their weight class, while teammates Cody Pugh, Tyler Giorgini and Cameron Pitchford finished second in their weight classes.

Of the 13 Cabot wrestlers that participated, 10 of them advanced to at least the semifinal round.

Morgan won the 138-pound weight class. His journey to the championship began with a win over Brighton Wagner of Mountain Home in the first round, which put him in the semifinals against Jared Gunderman of Little Rock Catholic.

Morgan beat Gunderman by an 11-3 majority decision, setting up a championship match with Searcy’s Wallace Robinson. At the 2:32 mark of the championship round, Morgan beat Robinson via pin to win the 138-pound conference championship.

Cooley’s first-place finish came in the 145-pound weight class. Cooley beat Little Rock Central’s James Igwe in the first round, and Cooley won a 6-0 decision over Sheridan’s Nathan Dobson in the semifinals.

In the finals, Cooley edged Catholic’s Josh Ayliffe by decision to win the 145-pound championship.

Friesner’s first-place finish came in the 126-pound division. Friesner received a bye in the opening round, and advanced to the semis with a pin on Benton’s Corey Robinson in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinal round, Friesner pinned Catholic’s Andrew Elmore at the 2:57 point of the match, and in the championship round, Friesner beat Keaton Douglas of Searcy by technical fall.

Pitchford’s second-place finish came in the 120-pound ranks. Pitchford beat Mountain Home’s Read Parker in the opening round and Pitchford pinned Bryant’s Reggie Clemons in the semifinals, which set up a championship match with Catholic’s Richard Buzzitta.
At the 2:23 point of the 120-pound championship match, Buzzitta won the match via pin, giving Pitchford the runner-up finish.

Pugh took second in the 152-pound weight class. He beat Bryant’s Dillon Medlock via pin in his first match, and advanced to the finals with a pin on Searcy’s Devon King in the semis.
Pugh was pinned in the championship round by Catholic’s Cooper Griffin, giving Pugh the title of runner-up.

Giorgini finished second in the 220-pound division. He opened the tournament with a pin on Lane Dutton of Searcy. His opponent in the semifinals, Malcolm Williams of Central, also won his first-round match via pin, but in the semis, Giorgini bested Williams by technical fall, putting him in the finals.

Jodeci Booker of Jonesboro was Giorgini’s opponent in the finals of the 220-pound weight class, and Booker took the championship with a 19-8 majority decision.

Cabot’s Harris Sutton also had a strong showing at last Saturday’s meet. He finished third overall in the 285-pound weight class. Sutton advanced to the semifinals of the tournament before losing a 19-5 majority decision to eventual champion Luc Bequette of Catholic.
Sutton, though, rebounded from the loss with two-straight wins via pin in the consolation rounds, giving him the third-place finish.

Three other Panthers advanced to the semifinals of the tournament, and all three finished fourth in their weight classes. Nathan Bonilla finished fourth in the 182-pound class, Delton Farinelli took fourth in the 113-pound class, and teammate Clayton Pitchford was fourth in the 106-pound class.  

The Panthers are currently taking part in the state tournament, which began yesterday at the Jack Stephens Center on the campus of UALR, and the tournament will conclude today. Look for details of how the Panthers did in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.