BERNE — South Adams freshman Gabe Schwartz responded to the pressure of his first varsity wrestling match, delivering the sudden fall at 170 pounds that sealed a 42-31 Starfires' victory over Garrett Thursday night in the season opener at the Stardome.
"Schwartz comes up with a huge win as a freshmen and wins a meet for us. He was thrown right in it and got it done," praised South Adams coach Eric Myers after the ACAC meet.
Schwartz' promising performance takes a little of the sting out the Stars losing senior Shea Pyle for the season with an injury. "I was going to play around with Gabe and Pyle this year because they were both around 160, but Pyle was injured and Schwartz has to step right in," explained the SA coach.
The Schwartz fall in 2:43 over Koty Reinoehl helped the Starfires avoid a disastrous collapse. With four matches to go, SA led 36-15. Austun McCray of Garrett blanked SA's Austin Grabau at 145, scoring a late takedown for an 8-0 major win. The Starfires then offered the fifth forfeit of the night at 152, and Garrett veteran August Novy moved down from his 170-pound pre-match pairing to 160, pinning SA frosh Gage Conner, who had been listed as the 152-pound starter.
That cut the lead to 36-31 Stars.
"We gave it a good shot and did everything we could to help us try and win the match, and as it turns out we could have won if our kid gets the pin at the end," stated Garrett coach Luke Fielden.
"I'm proud of Koty. He's a first year varsity kid and he was very much undersized. He handled that (pressure) fairly well and gave it a shot." Reinoehl weighed in at 152.5 pounds, barely qualifying to go at 170.