Statement made Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 10:12
Statement made Sumter wrestlers whip No. 6 Irmo, Conway Keith Gedamke / The Item Sumter's Matt Devine goes for the pin on Irmo's Bobby Medzel at 135 on Tuesday. The Gamecocks defeated Irmo 44-30 at the Sumter High School Gymnasium. By PATRICK ENZOR Item Sports Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Matthew Love told his Sumter High School wrestling team that it needed to make more than one statement on Tuesday in a tri-match against Region VI-4A foe Conway and top 10 Irmo. Love wanted the Gamecocks to send a message to the rest of the region and state that Sumter wrestling was a team to contend with this year. After a 44-30 win over No. 6 Irmo and a 66-12 drubbing of Conway, consider the statement made by the No. 18 Gamecocks. "I told those guys going into the match that nobody really respects us," said Love. "We beat Irmo last year and coming out, we were still ranked below them. I'm hoping this one will get us over a hump and put us on the map. "Wrestling Conway, we needed to make a statement there in the region," he added. "Wrestling Irmo, we needed to make a statement that Sumter wrestling is on the map. I tell these guys all the time in practice that we have to work hard, but nobody knows how good we can be. This year, this is probably the best team we've had top to bottom." After trouncing Conway in the opening match of the night, Sumter watched Irmo edge the Tigers 47-28. When the Yellow Jackets and Gamecocks took to the mat, it was Sumter's Eric Portee and Irmo's T.J. Dudley starting in the 171-pound weight class. Dudley pinned Portee in the second round to give Irmo an early 6-0 lead, but that lasted for all of eight seconds. At 189, Shawn Armstrong dove for the legs of Shawn Coward and put him on his back before pinning him and tying the match at 6-6. Armstrong, who is just in his second week back from football, needed just 35 seconds to win both of his matches. Armstrong is ranked No. 3 in his weight class in the preseason rankings. "The thing about Shawn is that he gets his in practice because he wrestles all the coaches," laughed Love. "We tell him, 'Six minutes or six points' and he'd just rather get the six points. Of course we're happy to see that because last year, if Shawn wrestled a match, it was overtime, double overtime. He's really stepping his game up." Trevor Jahnke won a decision over Irmo's Brunker Womack at 215 before Irmo heavyweight Jimmy Carson won a decision over Michael Miller to tie the match at 9-9. Sumter's Peter Hackett then pinned Dalton Jacobs at 103 and Cody Ray won by forfeit to give Sumter a 21-9 lead with eight matches left. Sumter looked to take a commanding lead as Korey Paige held a 14-1 lead in the last half-minute of the match over Tyler Johnson at 119, but Paige made a mistake and got flipped to his back and pinned to cut the lead to 21-15. "We had an opportunity to close it out, but we just got complacent on top," said Love. "When you wrestle a good team like Irmo, you can't slip off any. That's kind of what happened." At 125, Sumter's Josh Anderson pinned Kyle Manross, who was the preseason No. 1 ranked wrestler and defending state runner-up at 119, just 57 seconds into the match. Sumter's Peyton Chapel was pinned at 130 before Sumter's Matt Devine pinned Bobby Medzel at 135 to give Sumter a 33-21 lead with three matches left. Again, Sumter was in prime position to take control of the match as Andrew Lovice held a 5-3 lead over Blane Bryant at 140 in the waning seconds, but Bryant scored a reversal to tie it and eventually won in overtime to cut the lead to 33-24. In stepped Hayden Raabe at 145, and he pinned Lee Wallingford in the second period to give Sumter a 39-24 lead. Josh Sullivan, a state qualifier from last year, then got a major decision over Eli Drullard at 152 to make it 44-24 before Irmo's Devin Goswell pinned Thomas Colvin to cap the scoring. "Those guys really stepped up," said Love. "Hayden has really come on as a sophomore and he's been wrestling really well. He's dedicated himself to getting better. Josh is a guy that when he goes out, we expect him to win. We don't expect anything less." In the first match against Conway, Sumter scored eight pins in the first period to cruise to victory. Raabe and Sullivan needed just 13 and 14 seconds, respectively, to get their wins in back-to-back fashion. Sumter wrestles at Lugoff-Elgin today.