Nation Ford’s Trevor Strain helped to lead the Falcons’ wrestling team to two wins to open the season.

FORT MILL – The Nation Ford Falcons opened the wrestling season with a pair of wins with one of them was against their newest rival in one of their first matches ever.

                Nation Ford beat Heathwood Hall and Catawba Ridge in a tri-match holding them each to just 12 points.

                “I felt like our guys were ready to roll,” said Nation Ford head coach Tony Forte, who is in his first season with the team. “We had some nice effort. We are excited to be 2-0.”

                The tri-match also saw Catawba Ridge get their first wrestling win in their first ever match. The Copperheads beat Heathwood Hall 48-18 in the first match of the tri-match. The draw was at heavyweight and Catawba Ridge got a forfeit to go up 6-0. Heathwood Hall got a forfeit at 106 pounds to tie the match. From there, the Copperheads got wins from Conner Stukitz (113) and Andrew Patten (120) to go up 18-6. Heathwood Hall would pick up the pin at 126-pounds and then double-forfeits from each team at 132 and 138-pounds moved the match to 145-pounds where Heathwood Hall would tie things up at 18-18 with a pin.

                Catawba Ridge would then win the next five matches, three by forfeit to clinch the match. Getting pins for the Copperheads were Sean Barstad (152) and Forrest Rozelle (160) in that final stretch. Picking up wins by forfeit were Evan Hamilton (170), RJ Lincoln (182) and Nate Teel (195).

                The main match-up of the tri-match was between the Copperheads and Falcons. Nation Ford led from the beginning of the match as they won 69-12. Starting at 113-pounds, the Falcons’ Solomon Moore got a pin over Stukitz in the second period and Nation Ford would win eight straight to go up 47-0. Also getting pins for the Falcons during that stretch was Trevor Strain (120), JaDerrick Foster (126), Caden Brandenburg (145), Steven Johnson (152) and Isaac Nieves (160). Zahari Yarlug (132) and Reed Spilmann (138) won by forfeit.

                Catawba Ridge picked up its first win by forfeit as Forrest Rozelle (170) won, but then Nation Ford would get a win from Clayton Rygol (182) by pin, before the Copperheads’ RJ Lincoln (195) would get their only pin of the match against the Falcons’ Ryan deLeon. Nation Ford would close out the match with a 10-1 major decision from Steven Franco (220), a pin from Sean Grennan (285) and a forfeit win by Arianna Davis (106).

                Catawba Ridge head coach Scooter Weathers knew it would be tough coming into the season and said his team finally realized some things in their first matches.

                “We got to be positive,” he said. “We knew we will have a lot of young guys in the lineup. I think they now understand the difference between match speed and practice speed. We are going to get better. We are at ground zero right now. We will eventually get there.”

                Nation Ford also beat Heathwood Hall 57-12 and easily rolled through their lineup without much of a problem. Getting wins for the Falcons were Moore (113), Strain (120), Spilmann (132), Brandenburg (145), Johnson (152), Nieves (160), Rygol (182), deLeon (195), Franco (220) and Grennan (285).

                “We got to keep training hard and keep moving,” Forte said. “The guys really showed me something.”

                Up next for Nation Ford is a match against Dutch Fork at home Dec. 11 and then the Ram Invitational at Hillcrest Dec. 14. For the Copperheads, they will head to Dutch Fork Dec. 14 for the Dutch Fork Invitational and then host their first home match against Kings Mountain Dec. 17.