Cope denies Hall 100th win
It may have been storming outside, but the real attraction Wednesday night was inside of East Rutherford High School where Cody Hall was going for his 100th victory as a Cavalier wrestler.
The stands were packed with family, friends and fans anticipating Hall to accomplish the rare feat, however, R-S Central's Colin Cope had other plans.
Cope, who beat Hall earlier this season at the Hilltopper Duals, was set to battle Hall one more time at 132 pounds.
"I felt this match was a little more nerve-racking because of the community hyping it up," Cope said. "I'm confident in my abilities but the nervousness was definitely there."
The Hilltoppers dominated the match but the main event did not disappoint.
Hall jumped to an early lead on Cope in the first round but Cope stormed back to an 8-6 lead.
Hall tied it up in the second round at 8-8 but after the round Hall appeared winded.
Hall revealed after the match that he had been battling a "stomach virus" in recent weeks.
"I went out there and the adrenaline had me not feeling it, but halfway through the match I started feeling it," Hall said after the match.
Cope and Hall traded points in the final round but the buzzer went off with Cope holding a comfortable 16-10 lead for the decision win.
"It's a tough thing to have to take away from a wrestler," Cope said after the match. "Cody is a decent wrestler and a decent human-being. I have a lot of respect for him. I had to keep my mind right and stay focused for my team."
"I feel that I'm a better wrestler than [Cope] but he's in better condition. He's working harder right now in the season and I'm trying to get to my peak," Hall said. "I just need to hit a stride. Knowing that I just loss mean that I don't want to lose anymore so I can get hot."
The levity of the match wasn't lost on the coaches.
"I know Colin is good and I know Cody is good," Central head coach Rich Cox said. "I like Cody but I don't want him to beat us. I like it when one of my kids can beat their best kid because we want to run the best program around."
After the entire match was said and done, the Hilltoppers defeated East Rutherford 50-11.
"I think we wrestled a lot of good matches. Several of our matches went into the third period," said East head coach Tim Bird. "We just couldn't get the win. I believe the match was much closer than what the score indicates."
East returns to action Tuesday, Feb. 5 at home against Burns. Central travels to Freedom on Friday.
"We've been focusing a lot on effort in practice," Cox said. "Freedom is undefeated but I don't care. If we go out there and wrestle our match than we can beat them. Even if we don't beat them I'm happy because we put forth the effort.
106 Harold Bracken (RS) FALL Parker, Weston (ER) 1:19
113 Austin Neal (RS) MD Lovelace, Chase (ER) 19 - 6
120 Caleb Cox (RS) DEC Collins, Jonathan (ER) 2 - 0
126 Dennis Bradley (RS) DEC Fiegen, Cory (ER) 9 - 8
132 Colin Cope (RS) DEC Hall, Cody (ER) 16 - 10
138 VanDyke, Andy (ER) TF Christian Gold (RS) 17 - 0 (4:54)
145 Luke Watkins (RS) For Forfeit (ER)
152 Daisley, Nathan (ER) FALL Robert Talbert (RS) 3:34
160 Thomas Hensley (RS) DEC Costa, Colton (ER) 11 - 5
170 Tyler Lowery (RS) FALL Melton, Jacob (ER) 3:13
195 Quincy Edwards (RS) For Forfeit (ER)
220 Kaleb Hines (RS) For Forfeit (ER)
285 Hunter Edwards (RS) DEC Gabriel, Andre (ER) 7 - 5