The Skyview wrestling team's convincing dual meet victory Thursday against Anchorage Christian Schools wasn't so much about wrestling skill or endurance as it was about confidence.
The host Panthers, who are currently ranked first in the fall wrestling coaches poll, notched a 51-6 victory. The Lions received their only points when heavyweight Jeff Wells won by forfeit.
Skyview received pins from Cody Phipps at 103, Ian Leach at 135, Chris Rice at 152 and Vance Gaddis at 189, but the Panthers had to go the full three periods and take decisions in their other seven victories.
What stood out about those other seven victories was that six were by four points or less.
"They're just not used to losing," ACS coach Jason Hofacker said of the Panthers. "Coach (Neldon) Gardner and coach (Dave) Carey have them believing that when they need a point late in the match, they can score it.
"It's a feather in the cap of those coaches."
Gardner said there is no secret to coaching wrestling.
"The main thing is to get them going out there with confidence," Gardner said. "When you're down 6-5 in the third period and you're tired, it's pretty easy to give up.
"That's why we push our team past its limits in practice. It teaches them how far they can go."
The Skyview wrestler with reason for the most confidence right now is Neil Strausbaugh. Strausbaugh, a state champion, faced fellow state champion Lionel Manyoky Thursday and won 6-2. It was the fourth time this season Strausbaugh, who is undefeated this year, topped Manyoky.
"I just did the same thing I always do with him," Strausbaugh said. "I attacked. I got my points off shots, so I just keep shooting."
Skyview's Ron Winger also stayed undefeated on the season Thursday by topping Imre Manyoky 10-6. Winger just returned last weekend from a broken ankle he sustained during the football season.
Before Thursday, the senior had won all his matches by pin in the first period, but Manyoky stretched him the full three periods. The match wasn't decided until Winger scored a takedown with eight seconds left in the third.
"He definitely had me on the conditioning," said Winger, who was third in state the last two years. "The more tired I get, the more pumped up I get. It just makes me realize I have to step it up even more."
Another close match came from Skyview's Ben Nabinger and Daniel McCarty of ACS. Nabinger was down 8-5 with a minute left in the third period when he put McCarty on his back with a throw. McCarty injured his knee on the move, so Nabinger took the lead after getting two takedown points and two back points. He held on for the 9-8 victory after the injury timeout.
"I just knew I had to take him down somehow," Nabinger said. "I also needed back points, so I figured a throw would work the best."
Gardner also pointed out the 4-0 victory by Skyview's Carey Johnson over Patrick Bennett at 171.
"(Johnson) would always land the wrong way or fall the wrong way in matches, but that wasn't the way he was wrestling up in the room," Gardner said. "I had a talk with him and tonight he was doing the right things on the mat.
"It's just a confidence thing."
Skyview's other decisions came from Jonathon Pharris at 112, Brandon Cleveland at 125 and Ron Plate at 160. Melina Hutchison received a forfeit at 119.
The Panthers will be back in action today when ACS, Kenai, Houston and Soldotna come to the Skyview Invitational.
At 1 p.m., Kenai wrestles SoHi and Houston tackles Skyview. At 3 p.m., ACS takes on Kenai and SoHi hooks up with Houston. At 5 p.m., ACS stacks up against Houston and Skyview and SoHi lock horns. Finally, at 7 p.m. ACS gets a rematch with Skyview and Kenai engages Houston.
SKYVIEW 51, ACS 6
103 -- Cody Phipps, Sky, p. Judah Allen, 1:23
112 -- Jonathon Pharris, Sky, def. Cecil White, 7-0
119 -- Melina Hutchison, Sky, won by forfeit
125 -- Brandon Cleveland, Sky, def. Jake Moe, 13-10
130 -- Neil Strausbaugh, Sky, dec. Lionel Manyoky, 6-2
135 -- Ian Leach, Sky, p. Danny Cooper, 3:19
140 -- Ben Nabinger, Sky, def. Daniel McCarty, 10-6
145 -- Ron Winger, Sky, def. Imre Manyoky, 10-6
152 -- Chris Rice, Sky, p. Brad Scott, 3:26
160 -- Ron Plate, Sky, def. James McCarty, 2-1
171 -- Carey Johnson, Sky, def. Patrick Bennett, 4-0
189 -- Vance Gaddis, Sky, p. Josh Homan, 2:44
215 -- no match
275 -- Jeff Wells, ACS, won by forfeit
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