GAFFNEY — For the second match in a row, the result came down to sophomore heavyweight Nick Weldon.
And for the second match in a row, Weldon delivered a heart-stopping victory for the 18th-ranked Wolves, this time to win Newberry’s first Eastern College Athletic Conference dual of the season and run the Wolves’ all-time record vs. Limestone to 12-0.
Limestone (7-2, 3-1 ECAC) recorded wins in four of the last five weight classes to tie the match at 18 when Weldon stepped up to battle Matt Rudy, the top-ranked wrestler in Super Region 2 and No. 5 in the nation at 197 pounds.
Wrestling up a weight class and leading 1-0, Rudy sprung to a 3-1 lead due to a two-point nearfall and a Weldon escape after Weldon began the third period on the bottom. Weldon closed the gap to 4-3 with a takedown and Rudy’s escape, setting up a thrilling final sequence.
Weldon pounced with 15 seconds remaining, but Rudy scampered away to his left to avoid the takedown. As both wrestlers fought for control, Rudy spun to his left and hit the mat with three seconds to go. Sensing the opportunity, Weldon moved in. He caught Rudy by the left hip and right ankle as he tried to stand, pulling him back to the mat for the takedown as the buzzer sounded.
Video review confirmed the call on the mat moments later, giving Weldon the takedown, the 5-4 win, and Newberry a 21-18 victory.
Each team scored victories in five matches, but Newberry recorded two falls to Limestone’s one to provide the final difference in scoring. Austin Palmer gave Newberry six points with his pin at 149 pounds in just 2:11. Neither wrestler had scored before Palmer’s lightning-quick pin that gave Newberry a formidable 15-3 advantage.
Jordan Simpson also recorded a fall at 133 pounds. Simpson, ranked eighth in the latest Division II rankings in the 133-pound division and third in Super Region 2, wrestled against Austin Jamison in the second bout of the evening. Jamison entered the day ranked fourth in the region but was no match for Simpson.
After going scoreless for the first half of the period, Simpson earned a takedown for a 2-0 lead. He remained in control as the period drew to a close, then pinned Jamison just in front of the rowdy Limestone crowd. The result made Newberry’s lead 9-0.
Newberry also took decisions by eighth-ranked Trung Duong at 125 pounds and seventh-ranked Huston Evans at 174 pounds. Duong built a sizable lead in the first period, highlighted by a four-point nearfall, and held off a late rally by Limestone’s Majid Corbit to win 14-9.
Evans took the lead on a takedown midway through the second period, extended the advantage when a third caution on Limestone’s Ritchie Guillaume gave him a point, and tallied two more points on a takedown with 24 seconds remaining in the third.
Daquon Wilson provided Limestone’s biggest highlight with an early fall at 165 pounds. The Saints also took four decisions to arrive at their final point total.
Newberry returns to action next weekend in the Super Region 2 Duals. Friday’s competition will take place at Belmont Abbey, with Saturday’s action held at Newberry.