URBANA — Almost five minutes into his heavyweight bout with Tuscarora's Ernest Mallette on Wednesday night, Urbana's Justin Karira somehow found the strength and energy to elevate his opponent off his feet and bring him down to the mat on his back.
"It was beautiful, a textbook throw," teammate Michael Schifano later remarked. "They were looking really tired. I didn't know if anyone had it in them to throw like that."
But Karira does not shy away from hard work or getting physical on the mat, something the Urbana wrestling team has been emphasizing as it prepares to dive into the heart of its schedule.
Karira's pin of Mallette in 5 minutes, 5 seconds was emblematic of Urbana's night Thursday, as the Hawks (4-1) earned falls in 16 of 28 bouts overall during the course of a home tri-match with Tuscarora and Frederick.
Urbana rolled to a 72-12 victory over Frederick on the strength of nine pins before opening the nightcap against Tuscarora with four straight pins on its way to a 59-18 victory.
In the evening's other bout, Tuscarora overcame a 24-18 deficit with six bouts to go and beat Frederick 39-31.
"I just did what I was taught," said Karira, who finished the night with a pair of victories by pin. "With all of the hard work and repetition, everything just happened naturally."
Karira has made significant progress in a short span. During Urbana's playoff loss to Walter Johnson on Nov. 8 in football, he sprained his left ankle, delaying the start of his wrestling season.
He admits he's still not in optimal shape on the mat. But Wednesday's heavyweight match with Mallette presented a serious test he wound up passing with a flourish.
"It's very satisfying," he said. "We don't let up in practice, and we don't let up in meets."
The margin for error in the sport is small, as Schifano was reminded when he saw an 8-3 lead suddenly become a loss by fall in the third period of his match at 195 pounds with Frederick's Cooper Chamblee.
"The smallest thing in this sport can cost you everything," Schifano said.
The Urbana junior was trying to pin Chamblee with a half nelson before the Frederick senior powered him over and onto his back in a serious display of strength. Chamblee, the only four-year wrestler on the Cadets' roster, earned the pin in 5:24 at the edge of the circle.
"That was a big deal," Frederick coach Mike Van Horn said. "He took advantage of a situation. He had an opening and he seized it."
Schifano, for his part, said he didn't get his hips down hard enough while trying to pin Chamblee, which allowed the Frederick wrestler to score the sudden reversal and the pin.
At the time of the fall, both of Schifano's legs were off the mat, something Urbana coach Justin Krop pointed out to the referee to no avail. The Hawks were waiting for a whistle to stop the action and save the pin.
"I lost match because of mistake I made," Schifano said. "It wasn't because of the ref. It wasn't because of the kid from Frederick. It was on me.
"I was a little heated at first [after the fact]. But, as soon as I went outside, I cooled down. I had a little water. I realized it was on me, and I have to fix that."
Schifano came back to pin Tuscarora's Geoffrey Worsey in his second match of the night, an effort Krop was proud of as the Hawks gear up to face rival Linganore on Friday night.
"The kids are believing in themselves," Krop said. "That's the mantra and culture of program. It's fun watching young guys buy into it and start reaping the benefits of it."
Tuscarora 39, Frederick 31
145—Clark (T) pinned Zaw, 1:14; 152—Ta (T) pinned Helmsley, 4:39; 160—Lopez (F) pinned Clouser, 5:00; 170—Dipita (T) pinned Wilson, 1:42; 182—Kollmar (F) pinned Scott, 1:40; 195—Chamblee (F) pinned Worsey, 1:46; 220—Buchanan (F) pinned Hopkins, 3:25; 285—Mallette (T) pinned Galarza, :50; 106—No bout; 113—Lyons (T) by forfeit; 120—Fuller (T) pinned Bakari, 1:36; 126—Butler (F) d. Lockett, 6-2; 132—Warren (F) m. dec. McCoy, 11-2; 138—Qualls (T) d. Suter, 9-7.
Urbana 72, Frederick 12
152—Wegeman (U) pinned Miller, :51; 160—Corso (U) pinned Lopez, :43; 170—Gentry (U) pinned Wilson, 1:03; 182—Reyes (U) pinned Kollmar, 3:22; 195—Chamblee (F) pinned Schifano, 5:24; 220—Buchanan (F) pinned Thrasher, 5:18; 285—Karira (U) pinned Galarza, :15; 106—Blacklock (U) by forfeit; 113—Pendleton (U) by forfeit; 120—Gill (U) pinned Bakari, 2:18; 126—Rohn (U) pinned Butler, 2:53; 132—Acton (U) pinned Warren, 2:35; 138—Steinheimer (U) by forfeit; 145—Scates (U) pinned Zaw, :58.
Urbana 59, Tuscarora 18
160—Corso (U) pinned Clouser, 2:54; 170—Gentry (U) pinned Dipita, 4:38; 182—Reyes (U) pinned Scott, :50; 195—Schifano (U) pinned Worsey, 1:21; 220—Hopkins (T) pinned Thrasher, 1:40; 285—Karira (U) pinned Mallette, 5:05; 106—Blacklock (U) by forfeit; 113—Fuller (T) pinned Pendleton, :24; 120—St. Andrie (T) d. Gill, 3-0; 126—Rohn (U) pinned Lockett, :34; 132—Acton (U) pinned Qualls, 4:49; 138—Clark (T) d. Steinheimer, 6-1; 145—Scates (U) by forfeit; 152—Wegeman (U) pinned Dwimwoh, :45.