CHARLOTTESVILLE — There was little time to waste for the Lapel wrestling team on Wednesday night — quite literally.
Locked in a pin-fest against host Eastern Hancock, the visiting Bulldogs racked up five falls and tied the dual twice early on, but they couldn’t keep pace, losing to the Royals 48-33.
The Royals claimed eight matches overall, including a forfeit and seven by fall, burning just under 16 minutes off the clock combined to win their home opener.
The visiting Bulldogs, however, deadlocked the match at 6- and 12-all before the Royals pulled away.
Freshman Gage Thompson tied the dual 6-6 with a second-period pin at 170 pounds against Eastern Hancock junior Ben Furlani, and 195-pound junior Phoenix Mills added a third-period pin to knot the score 12-12.
From there, the Royals charged out to a 30-12 lead before Harrison Hadley, a sectional champion at 106 last season, halted Eastern Hancock’s run with a quick pin at 113.
Gavin Manis, a junior, followed with a pin in 1:24 at 126, and Will Rector’s 48-second fall at 132 closed the gap at 36-30 until the Royals logged back-to-back pins to take a 48-30 lead.
“We’re really young and kind of inexperienced, so it’s great to just get out there and get some match time against a good quality team like this one,” Bulldogs head coach Jacob Stilwell said. “We’ll continue to improve, and we’ll see them again in about two weeks.”
Senior Marc Fensler closed the match with a hard-fought 6-5 decision against Eastern Hancock senior Jordyn Wills, a two-time semistate qualifier.
Fensler scored a pair of takedowns and controlled the match 4-0 heading into the third period. From the down position, Wills rallied back, scoring a reversal and three nearfall points with less than a minute left.
Down 5-4, Fensler worked a reversal from the bottom to go up 6-5 and held on through the final 30 seconds to win.
The two programs will see each other again on Dec. 9 at the Neil Muse Invitational at Lapel after the Bulldogs trek to the Maconaquah Invitational this Saturday.