Old rivals meet again on the matPisgah has won last six meetings with Tuscola
A fiery high school wrestling rivalry will be renewed Friday night when the Pisgah Black Bears travel to Tuscola High School to meet the Mountaineers on the mat.
This rivalry is about much more than conference championships or bragging rights for a year. When these two get together for dual meets in Canton or in Waynesville, the atmosphere borders on the Hatfields and McCoys.
Adding to the intensity of the meeting is the fact the Black Bears have dominated the Mountaineers on the mat for six consecutive years.
That has not and is not sitting well with Tuscola.
On paper, all signs point to Pisgah Head Coach Ryan Gibson’s team extending its streak over the Mountaineers to seven straight wins. Three ranked wrestlers are leading the Black Bears, which are rolling over the competition and are 14-3 in dual meets.
In the lastest individual 3-A polls by RetroRankings.com, Pisgah’s Cody Lamb is ranked fourth in the heavyweight division, Kyle Terrell is fourth at 220-pounds and Drew Singleton is seventh at 120-pounds. Not ranked but having a solid season for the Black Bears on the mat are David Arredondo (132), Daniel VanVaerenbergh (138), Jared Ward (145), Dillon Oneil (152), Aiden Rogers (170), Ashton Rhinehart (182), Tanner Resse (113) and John Albritton.
“When Pisgah and Tuscola meet in wrestling, you have to truly throw out the records,” said Gibson at the beginning of the season. “You can always count on this match being extremely competitive, intense and exciting. This rivalry brings out the best in both sides and without question both schools want to win this dual.”
Compounding to Gibson’s worries is the match will be in his rivals’ gym and Tuscola’s young squad appears to have found their stride. Evidence is in recent wins over Franklin (54-24), East Henderson (46-27) and an impressive sixth place finish at the 35nd Annual Greeneville (Tenn.) Invitational Tournament a week ago by head coach Mark Williams’ Mountaineers.
Jeremiah Royer (170), James Gibson (120), Daniel Messer (126), Steven Bottoms (138), Justin Hogan (182), Tanner Milner (132) and Houston Dickens (152) are racking up wins for Tuscola, while Zac Pottinger (145), Nick Ewart (195), Sam Ross (220), Roman Jenkins (126), Josey Ward (138), Austin Kirkpatrick, Josh Davis, Thomas Hollingsworth, Dylan Worley, Joshua Arrington (170) and Ben Brooks (113) are playing a role in the Mountaineers’ recent success on the mat.
As expected, seating for the 6 p.m. match may be at a premium. But that’s what fans in Haywood County expect when Tuscola and Pisgah meet in just about any sport.