FORT MILL --
The Nation Ford Falcons wrestling team may be closing the gap on rival Fort Mill, but it’s a slow, on-going process.
Fort Mill once again beat Nation Ford on the mats, this time 48-22 last week, to finish the regular season and give the Jackets a third place finish in Region III-AAAA. That means going on the road for the first round of this week’s playoffs.
Nation Ford failed to make the playoffs and will rely on getting as many individual wrestlers into February’s Upper State tournament with a good showing at the individual Region III-AAAA tournament this week.
In their head-to-head dual meet, Fort Mill took the lead from the opening match and never gave it up despite Nation Ford closing the gap on several occasions.
The Jackets’ Nigel Bostick started things off with a 1-0 win over Elliot Wallace at 138 pounds. Fort Mill then got a second period pin by Nick Letitten over Houston Vandiver at 145 pounds.
From there, Nation Ford got its first win of the dual as Nick Raniszewski pinned Antonio Dawkins in the first period to make it 9-6 after the 152-pound match.
Fort Mill got a pin from Brandon Meyer at 160, but Nation Ford came right back with wins at 170 by Brady Hensley and 182 by Tyler Godbout to again make things interesting with the Jackets holding on to just a two-point lead at 15-13.
Then the one thing that has hurt Nation Ford all year – forfeits – started happening, allowing Fort Mill some breathing room.
Fort Mill got forfeit wins at 195 for B.J. Hurst and heavyweight for Sam Smith. Nation Ford picked up a forfeit win for Josh Driscoll at 220 pounds.
That put the meet back to the lower weight classes with Fort Mill leading 27-19. A win from the Jackets’ John Brotemarkle at 106 over Harrison Vandiver finished things off for all intents and purposes with forfeit wins going to Eddie Byrams (113) and Tyler Turner (120) to make it 45-19.
Fort Mill’s Jake Strong won at 126 pounds and Nation Ford’s Michael Allen won at 132 pounds to finish out the meet.