Wrestle Mania: Hawks rout Central Baptist 50-3 in home opener
ROME, Ga. - As the only four-year varsity collegiate wrestling program in the state of Georgia, Shorter University carries the hopes of thousands of Georgia wrestling supporters as it hits the mats for its inaugural season.
On Friday night, the Wrestling Hawks certainly made the Georgia wrestling community proud with their performance.
Shorter put on a show for an eager crowd at The Forum in Downtown Rome, routing Central Baptist College 50-3 in the program's historic home opener, an event that signaled the return of collegiate wrestling to the Southeast.
Simply put, the Hawks made history, and did so with a banner performance that satisfied the masses of Georgia wrestling fanatics that have waited years to witness the return of their beloved sport to the college ranks in their home state.
"It was great to perform in front of such a tremendous home crowd," said Shorter head coach Josh Henson, whose program was presented with a $10,000 gift from the Team Georgia Wrestling Club prior to the match, a generous display of appreciation to the Shorter community for its efforts in bringing collegiate wrestling back to Georgia.
"There are so many people that have given their unwavering support to help get our program off the ground and it was so nice to be able to show them our appreciation by bringing them such a successful event," Henson added. "This was truly a celebration of wrestling. The fact that we are competing and people have a chance to come watch a college wrestling match on a Friday night is very special."
The Hawks gave the home crowd plenty to cheer for on this night.
Shorter won four matches by fall - Joshua Cook (165), Jacob McClure (174), Adam Perdue (125) and Josh Rinehart (141) each pinned their opponent - and Nate Galloway was dominant at 133, winning by technical fall over Central Baptist's Richard Conley.
Joe Hinchman won a decision at 11-7 over the Mustangs' William Brooks at 197 as Shorter, which saw three athletes qualify for the NAIA National Championships last weekend at The Citadel, used the adrenaline rush from a raucous crowd that included several high school programs from throughout the area to roll past CBC.
"It was exciting to get out there and wrestle," Henson said. "The fans produced a great atmosphere and the guys really wrestled hard.
"It was a great night."
Shorter will host the Shorter Open tomorrow beginning at 9 a.m., but opens Mid-South Conference competition on Saturday, Nov. 20, when it travels to West Virginia for a dual meet with West Virginia Tech.
That match is slated to begin at 1 p.m.
Shorter 50, Central Baptist 3
125: Adam Perdue (SU) WBF Nate Waldrip (CB), 1:42
133: Nate Galloway (SU) WBTF Richard Conley (CB), 18-3
141: Josh Rinehart (SU) WBF Dontavious Gardenhire (CB), 4:30
149: Joshua Kweller (SU) won by forfeit
157: Eric Brovant (SU) won by forfeit
165: Joshua Cook (SU) WBF Bradley Burnside (CB), 2:44
174: Jacob McClure (SU) WBF Jacob Smith (CB), 2:09
184: Gunny Hoyt (SU) won by forfeit
197: Joe Hinchman (SU) DEC William Brooks (CB), 11-7
Hwt: John Lopez (CB) DEC Chris Rowland (SU), 6-2