BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb picked up bonus point wins from Tyler Marinelli and Hunter Gamble, but North Carolina captured the final two weight classes to seal a 23-15 win over the Runnin' Bulldogs Friday night in Paul Porter Arena.
The Tar Heels (8-6) got out to a 4-0 lead with a major decision in the opening match, with James Szymanski taking an 8-0 win at 125 pounds. Gardner-Webb veteran Philip Anderson rallied for a 7-4 decision at 133 pounds to pull the Runnin' Bulldogs (5-9) within a point, but North Carolina seized control of the match with standout Joey Ward at 141 pounds stepping onto the mat.
Ward – ranked No. 7 nationally – pinned Dallas Roemer in 2:03 to give the Tar Heels a 10-3 edge. Gardner-Webb's Joby Armenta fought off a major decision before falling by a 10-4 score to Troy Heilmann at 149 pounds, as the Runnin' Bulldogs competed without the services of SoCon contender Chris Vassar on Friday night due to injury.
Ryan Mosley started a quick run for Gardner-Webb at 157 pounds, using a four-point near fall to create distance in a 6-3 decision over Joey Moon. That made the score 13-6 and Marinelli dominated his match at 165 pounds to pull the 'Dogs even closer. The Jefferson, Ga., sophomore recorded a series of near falls to score quickly and often – finishing off Devin Kane for a 17-0 tech. fall in 5:46.
That set up a battle between two national contenders at 174 pounds, as North Carolina's Ethan Ramos – ranked sixth nationally – took on two-time NCAA qualifier Austin Trott. The two battled throughout with Ramos taking an early lead with a takedown, but Trott countered with a takedown of his own to tie the score before a challenge – and video review – confirmed the call.
Trott attempted to rally late after Ramos surged back in front, but was unable to put points on the board – as Ramos held on for a 4-2 decision and a 16-11 team lead for the Tar Heels.
Hunter Gamble rolled to a 10-1 major decision for the 'Dogs at 184 pounds to pull Gardner-Webb within 16-15 on the scoreboard, but the Tar Heels countered with a major decision of their own to lead 20-15 heading into the final match of the night.
Boyce Cornwell and Cory Daniel battled to a scoreless tie after the first period and Daniel took a 3-0 lead after an escape and a quick takedown. Cornwell trimmed the lead to 3-2, before Daniel sealed the win with a late takedown and a 5-2 decision.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will be back in action on Sunday, hosting Ohio University at 1:00 pm in Paul Porter Arena – then traveling over to Davidson, N.C., for a SoCon battle against Davidson College at 7:00 pm.
NORTH CAROLINA 23, GARDNER-WEBB 15
125: James Szymanski (UNC) major dec. Landon LoAlbo (GWU); 8-0
133: Philip Anderson (GWU) dec. Nicholas Lirette (UNC); 7-4
141: #7 Joey Ward (UNC) pinned Dallas Roemer (GWU); (2:03)
149: Troy Heilmann (UNC) dec. Joby Armenta (GWU); 10-4
157: Ryan Mosley (GWU) dec. Joey Moon (UNC); 6-3
165: Tyler Marinelli (GWU) tech. fall Devin Kane (UNC); 17-0 (5:46)
174: #6 Ethan Ramos (UNC) dec. Austin Trott (GWU); 4-2
184: Hunter Gamble (GWU) major dec. Alexander Pope (UNC); 10-1
197: Daniel Chaid (UNC) major dec. Kyle Ash (GWU); 17-7
285: Cory Daniel (UNC) dec. Boyce Cornwell (GWU); 5-2
TEAM RECORDS: North Carolina (8-6); Gardner-Webb (5-9)