Falcons top Cal Poly wrestling team

Photo by Ian Billings

Jefferson Nolan

All Atticus Disney could do was sit on the sideline with crutches as he watched his team quickly fold under the weight of Air Force. A forfeit in the heavyweight competition summarized the day for the Cal Poly wrestling team (2-6, 0-1 Big West Conference) as Air Force (8-1) defeated the Mustangs 39-3 in Mott Gym on Sunday afternoon.
Disney, a 285-pound senior, suffered a knee injury in the Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 1 and has not returned.
“It’s definitely not a good feeling having to just sit there when your team competes, but I’d rather be here than not finishing out the season,” Disney said. “I’d rather be a part of the team than not be here at all.”

But watching the match was not easy for Disney as it was not until the eighth matchup that junior Sean Dougherty was able to take down Air Force junior Devin Hightower.

Dougherty extended his record to 17-8 with a 9-3 decision over the Falcons’ 184-pound Hightower.

But even with Dougherty’s individual success in erasing the dreaded “0” from the scoreboard, head coach Brendan Buckley knows his team is capable of more.

“I don’t think we wrestled well,” Buckley said. “On paper, they’re ranked 25th. They’re a good team; it’s not like we lost to a poor team. But you can kind of tell they beat us today because they won all of the tight scenarios.”

Junior Britain Longmire was the first Mustangs wrestler to fall to Air Force as No. 10 Josh Martinez earned four points in a major decision.

Cal Poly true freshman Devon Lotito battled sophomore Dylan Hyder, but lost 4-3 to increase Air Force’s lead to 7.

“There would be a couple of times when they were in on our guys’ legs,” Buckley said. “We were just about to score, and then we’d get taken down.”

Cal Poly 133-pound freshman Lotito got out to a 2-1 lead over Dylan Hyder before surrendering an escape and takedown in the last period of the duel.

The 4-3 loss decreased his record to 22-7 on the year. Mustangs freshman Dillen Rocha gave hope to his team when he jumped to an 8-1 lead against senior Logan Burch. Burch, however, was able to turn Rocha on his back in the second period and scored a fall to secure his victory for the Falcons.

“We just didn’t show up today,” Dinsey said. “We looked a little lackadaisical, kind of timid. We’ve got a young team, and being the only senior, that’s one of the things that sucks. We need someone to be in there and be consistent, and that’s how I felt I fit in on this team. The hardest part is just seeing them without a leader.”

And as of now, the wrestling team continues to lack a heavyweight for competition.

Freshman Evan McKirdy is aware of the team’s shortcomings, and it’s clear what needs to be done in the Mustangs’ next matchup.

“We didn’t capitalize in a lot of situations, and we didn’t have a lot of takedowns,” McKirdy said. “We didn’t wrestle the full seven minutes, and I think that’s what set us back.”

Cal Poly will travel next Sunday for a Pac-12 dual meet at Stanford at 2 p.m.

“We’re just going to try and keep it simple and focus on the fundamentals,” Buckley said. “We’ve just got to finish our leg attacks. Fundamentals win on the highest levels. We’ve got to get tougher, to believe in ourselves, and wrestle for seven minutes.”

And if Atticus Disney makes the trip up north, he’ll once again be on the sidelines cheering for his team, hoping for a different outcome.