Highlights from Bermudian Springs' 44-24 dual meet win over Delone Catholic Thursday. Bermudian clinched the Division III title with the victory. Matt Allibone
It was a chance Ryan Forsythe had been waiting for all season.
After missing the last three years of wrestling with an elbow injury, the Bermudian Springs heavyweight returned for his senior season determined to compete in a high-stakes bout. He finally got the opportunity in the team's biggest dual meet of the season against Boiling Springs Saturday.
With the Eagles trailing by two heading into the meet's final bout, Forsythe needed to beat Ricky Ott to give Bermudian its first win over the Bubblers since 2011. The senior would come through with a decision to hand Bermudian a dramatic 31-30 victory in front of a frenzied home crowd. Forsythe defeated Ott, 11-9.
The win ended Bermudian's 10-match losing streak to Boiling Springs, which included three losses by one-point margins. It also locked up the top seed in the District 3 Class 2A tournament for the Eagles.
"I'm speechless right now," Forsythe said. "I saw the score, I knew I needed to win. A (pin) or a three(-point win) didn't really matter. Beating a state qualifier from last year when it's my first year back in three years is definitely one of the best moments in my career."
In the first minute of the bout, it looked like the 273-pound Forsythe might be at a disadvantage against the athletic 240-pound Ott, who recently returned to the Bubblers lineup. Forsythe gave up an early takedown but took the lead with two points right before the first-period buzzer.
Clinging to a one-point lead, the senior remained active and produced multiple takedowns in the last two rounds. He held off a rally by Ott in the final two minutes to clinch the win.
"Those last couple seconds were intense," said Forsythe, who added his uncle is an assistant coach at Boiling Springs. "All that was going through my mind was I have to get takedowns, I can't get reversed, I have to stay off my back. It was the most exhilarating part of the match."
While Forsythe's win was the highlight of the dual meet, the Eagles got plenty of strong performances. Korey Smith started the night with a pin over Mason Herrera at 106, and Darren Beall hit a late takedown to major Zach Martin, 13-3, at 160.
Other wrestlers including Trenton Harder (132) and Dylan Griffie (126) lost but boosted the Eagles chances by avoiding pins. The Bubblers forfeited two matches at 152 and 220.
"This is the best night I've had since 2011," Eagles head coach Dave McCollum said. "I didn't tell the team, but I told our coaches we had to win 106 and heavyweight to beat these guys. Ryan (Forsythe) wrestled a very smart match and was determined not to get ridden and score when he could and that's what he did."
Bermudian didn't give up a single pin but did lose six points when Dorian Steele was called for an illegal slam against Austin Taylor.
With the team district playoffs starting next week, there's a chance the two teams could meet again.
"I'm just happy we finally won a close one," McCollum said. "You can't ask for a better way to end your regular season than to wrestle a high school match in front of 1,000 people."