BELMONT, N.C. – The opening dual of the season for the King University men’s wrestling team was a rollercoaster tilt at Belmont Abbey College. The Tornado opened up a sizable advantage, but the Crusaders came back to take a lead before a Cade Ridley pin gave King the 22-21 win.
Elijah Hicks started the Tornado day with a 6-5 decision over Brandon Crowder at 125 pounds before a Rylee Billings 8-3 decision at 133 pounds over Ben Fielding gave King a 6-0 lead.
Christian Small fought well in his first collegiate match, but fell 1-0 on riding time to Tyler Pepe at 141 pounds.
Trent Mahoney started his career with a 1:29 pin over Matt Daner, stretching the Tornado lead to 12-3 after the 149-pound match.
Dallas Boone made a solid collegiate debut, following with a 7-0 victory over Jacob Dodson at 157 pounds to give King a 15-3 lead.
Belmont Abbey then rolled off four straight wins to take a 21-15 lead with the 285-pound weight class remaining.
Ridley came up with a pin in 1:32 over Jordan Hawthorne and evening the score.
King took the 22-21 win following an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Belmont Abbey earlier in the dual.
King wins their first dual of the season and starts the SACC slate with a win for the fourth time in five years. In three of those years, King has defeated Belmont Abbey in the conference opener.
King stays on the road to take on Newberry College on Thursday. The SACC dual is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. in Newberry, S.C. Belmont Abbey travels to Coker University on Friday night.