Hylton's P.J. Pcsolinski and Gar-Field's Rick Seipp met for a brief strategy session before a quad meet on Saturday at Hylton.
The coaching rivals, much like many of the fans in attendance, hoped to see the season's first meeting between the schools' marquee wrestlers: the Bulldogs' 112-pound sophomore Lam Ly and Indians' 119-pound sophomore Tyler Bowers. With postseason tournaments and challenging matches on the horizon, both coaches agreed to make it happen.
Pcsolinski forfeited the 112-pound match and bumped Ly to 119 pounds, sacrificing a key six points in the Bulldogs' 30-22 loss to the Indians.
Though a costly move, Pcsolinski said it was worth it. The match did not disappoint.
Ly jumped out to a 6-3 lead only to have Bowers even the score at 6 by the end of the second period. Bowers rode out the third period, not allowing Ly to escape, to force overtime. Bowers claimed victory in the sudden-death period, scoring a takedown for an 8-6 win.
Seipp and I "talked that morning, and we both wanted it to happen," Pcsolinski said. "I thought about it for only 30 seconds. It only made sense. It was a great match for Tyler and Lam. They will both need [the experience] from those types of matches three weeks from now [in the postseason]. . . . That was a very exciting match, and, to Bowers' credit, he never quit. He just kept coming and coming and coming."
Ly suffered only his second loss of the season, dropping his record to 30-2. Bowers, who placed fourth at the Virginia AAA championships last season, improved to 28-4.
"Both kids are state [tournament] quality wrestlers," Seipp said. "It is hard for them to find opponents who are going to push them. They were a good match for each other because they both need that kind of work. They probably won't have a quality match like that again until the region tournament."
At the start of the season, Bowers, Ly and Osbourn Park's Jeremy Adams each began the season at 112 pounds, promising a season of exciting matches. But Adams, who placed fifth in the state at 112 last season, dropped to 103 pounds, and Bowers jumped to 119, leaving only Ly at 112.
Bowers dropped to 103 pounds to meet Adams during a dual last week. In a match that also lived up to expectations, Adams edged Bowers in double overtime.
Gar-Field swept the Saturday's quad, knocking off Potomac, 54-25, and Richmond area school Clover Hill, 36-25. Hylton finished 2-1, and Potomac failed to win a match.
Potomac's Robert Henry continued an outstanding season at 152 pounds, going 3-0 on the afternoon.