Packer matmen blast Rockets

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2003

The Austin Packers wrestled on their home mat for the last time this season Thursday when they hosted Big Nine Conference rival Rochester John Marshall.

Austin put on an impressive offensive show that, with the exception of a 152-pound forfeit in the fifth match, did not allow the Rockets their first offensive points until the eighth match. The Packers tallied six falls in the first seven match-ups to command a 36-6 lead en route to a 50-20 dual win.

Austin High School celebrated Senior Night in a pre-meet ceremony that honored both wrestlers and cheerleaders.

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The Packers went into the final dual of the regular season looking to gain precious momentum that would help carry the team into the Class AAA team section competition slated to begin next week. Momentum for Austin came with the very first match.

T.J. Parlin quickly dispatched his130-pound opponent with a 15 second fall. Nick Zrucky scored near falls in the first two periods of the 135-pound dispute over Matt Wheeler before barb-wiring him to his back in the third period to get the pin at 5:15.

Dave Cunningham, at 140, executed four smart takedowns over Tim Johnson in the first period. Cunningham took advantage of a blown shot by Johnson and fireman carried him to his back at 1:34 to put the Packers up 18-0.

Sophomore Andy Graham controlled Josh Carlson with a quick takedown in the first period at 145. Carlson chose the neutral position to start the second, but it backfired on him when Graham put him on his back from a tree-top single to record a 2:23 fall.

It took only 4:30 for Marcus Ball to record 12 takedowns on Charlie Maves at 160. Ball used a series of single leg and throw-by takedown combinations before putting the Rocket away in the third period with a technical fall.

Josh Solberg got his 171-pound pin over Ryan Stevens on a bear-hug takedown-to-fall combination in the second period to get his 24th win of the season.

Garett Plotts grappled the full six minutes during his 189-pound match with Mike Hansen. Hansen scored John Marshall's first offensive points on a takedown in the first period, but Plotts fought his way back during the second period and tossed Hansen to his back off a takedown with 20 seconds to go, coming away with a 9-3 decision that put Austin up 39-6.

Rob Frost and Adam Maves fought themselves into a four-minute 0-0 stalemate at 215. Maves gave up a stalling point but got an escape and takedown on Frost to get the 3-1 decision.

Heavyweights Steve Moa and Matt Day battled their way to a 0-0 first period and 3-3 second period tie, but Moa caught Day on a reverse in the last period and recorded a 1:18 near fall on the Packer. Moa failed to get both of Day's shoulders to stick to the mat and had to settle for a 8-3 decision.

Dan Rysavy blanked 103-pound rival Nate Redmann 16-0 to get the technical fall. Rysavy used a combination of leg rides to turn Redmann's shoulders for a total of 2:50 seconds of near-fall time.

Mike Zentz earned a 15-0 technical fall over Jim McDermott. Zentz used four different near fall combinations, but McDermott fought his way out all four of them to cheat the Rocket of a fall at 112.

JM's Lance Rudd was awarded a 11-2 major decision over Nate Granahan at 119. Granahan showed a lot of tenacity in the match and scored a third-period takedown on Rudd to keep from walking off the mat scoreless.

The Packers ended the dual on a winning note, as 125-pound grappler Kyle Granahan pinned Mohammed Abdullahi with 34 seconds remaining in the finale to bring the final score to 50-30.

"This was a good match to have going into sectionals," said Austin wrestling coach Bill Kinney. "The boys are wrestling with a lot of confidence right now."

Seeding for the team will take place on Monday, with sectional competition starting on Thursday, Feb 13, at sites yet to be determined. Austin, at 9-16 overall, will likely be on the road for their first-round match. Section team finals are Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Rochester Civic Center.