Five county teams, led by C.B. Aycock's title repeat, finish among top seven
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 13, 2004 1:55 PM
Focused from the opening whistle in their respective first matches of the day, Rosewood senior Ramsey Brown and Southern Wayne junior Thomas Mosshammer carried a business-like attitude during the ninth annual Eagle Invitational Saturday.
Brown, seeded No. 2 at 112 pounds, spent roughly nine minutes on the mat en route to recording two falls. The victories set up a highly-anticipated match against Greensboro Page standout Brandon Davis, the No. 1 seed and unbeaten in 15 outings this season.
Brown (10-1) dominated Davis and racked up a 9-2 lead in the opening period. Davis, hampered by an injury, decided he could not continue and defaulted. The choice disappointed Brown's teammates, but head coach Bill Edmundson most of all.
"Ramsey brought his best plan to the match and wrestled all out," Edmundson said. "I feel bad for him. Anyone across the state that looks at the result of the tournament will see his win over Brandon as an injury default.
"Everyone at this tournament saw this match for what is was."
Coaches certainly took notice of the title bout and voted Brown the invitational's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Mosshammer (13-0) experienced little trouble defending his No. 1 seed at 130 pounds. He overpowered Beddingfield's Josh Mercer, upended county rival Chris Martin of Eastern Wayne and pinned Rosewood's Matt Davis in the championship.
It was Mosshammer's third individual title of the season.
"He's been much more focused this year," Saints coach David Lee said. "He has always had the ability. He just has a drive this year that wasn't there last year. At practice, he is going at it with anybody and it's carrying over to the mat.
"We've been real proud of him."
While those two wrestlers turned in tremendous performances during the grueling day-long event, it was business as usual for the entire Charles B. Aycock squad.
The Golden Falcons placed 10 grapplers in the championship and consolation rounds combined. Six emerged with gold medals and three collected bronze as Aycock successfully defended its title with 236.5 points. Raleigh Millbrook captured the runner-up spot with 166.5.
Aycock seized its third invitational crown of the season.
"The wrestlers really want to win this tournament every year," Golden Falcons coach Kevin Smith said. "The Rosewood invitational includes all of the county teams, making a win at this tournament something the kids work hard towards every year.
"We never have a problem getting our kids focused for this tournament."
Rosewood took third with 153.5, followed by Southern Wayne (150.5), Eastern Wayne (128), Wilson Hunt (90.5) and Spring Creek (81.5). It marked the first time in Eagle Invitational history that all five county schools had finished among the top seven.
"Our wrestlers have become a group of overachievers in most respects," Edmundson said. "To finish in the top five was a stretched goal, but something put out there to give our boys something to shoot for."
The Eagles faltered in the consolation semifinals.
"We had several wrestlers knocked out at that round, which hurts me more for them personally than for the team standings," Edmundson said.
Not a single Rosewood grappler advanced to the consolation finals, leaving the team scoring up to veterans Jim Bish (103), Matt Davis (130) and Clayton Taylor (215), and newcomer Michael Sander.
The quartet settled for runner-up honors. Bish fell to Eastern Wayne's Chris Tesar, who extended his winning streak to 13 matches. Taylor failed to protect his No. 1 seed, losing to county rival Wes Denham of Spring Creek. Denham picked up his first individual title of the season.
Sander (12-3) dropped a tough 9-4 decision to Aycock's Dustin Gurley.
In addition to Gurley, Ngu Tran secured his first gold medal of the season as the 119-pound champ. Ronald Lynn emerged the 135-pound title winner, while Jason Steed took the 160-pound class and Turner Wood secured the 189-pound crown.
Tran and Steed each knocked off the top two seeds in their gold-medal performances.
"We once again had some great performances out of younger, less-experienced wrestlers," Smith said of Tran and Steed. "Both young men are really improving every single week."
Derek Lancaster (112), Tim Harrison (152) and John Robertson (171) each captured a bronze medal. Harrison tied South Central's Calvin Barnes, who had reached the five-match maximum after advancing from the consolation semifinals.
Fellow Golden Falcon Drake Gurley (103) lost to Doogie Niemond of Southern Wayne in the consolation finals.
"We met nearly all of our team goals for this tournament," Smith said. "We also wanted all of our wrestlers to contribute to our point total. We were very excited to see that every wrestler won matches Saturday."
Niemond (7-4) nearly pulled off a stunning semifinal-round upset against Tesar, leading 3-1 midway through the match. Tesar forged a 3-3 tie and scored the last two points on a takedown late in the third period.
Saint teammate Victor Darden ended up the 140-pound champion. The third seed, Darden upset second-seeded Bunn's Alonzo Valasquez 10-7 in the semifinals and slipped past Hunt's Patric Coleman in the finals.
Jon McKinney (112), Kevin Hash (145) and Doni Wilkins (189) each finished fourth overall.
"We had some matches we probably could have won from a couple of our kids," Lee said. "Overall, we had a good day. We had some young kids step up and wrestle well. I think everybody won a match, so that's always a good day for you.
"I'm real proud of Vic, too. The kid from Hunt had beat him earlier in the year."
Eastern Wayne, for the first time in tournament competition, had just one gold medalist. Junior Travis Turner suffered his first loss of the year in the 171-pound final against North Pitt's Raymond Pearson. It was a rematch of last week's title match won by Turner at the Pierce-Davis Memorial.
Senior David Brown lost by major decision to Wood. Chris Martin (130) and Joey Burridge (140) each placed third.
Denham pinned the Warriors' Eric Stover for the second time in less than a week. A returning state qualifier, Denham knocked off West Johnston's Noah Raybon in the semifinals before defeating Taylor.
Meanwhile, Tim Buckingham (152) turned in his best effort of the year. He pinned his first two opponents and then stunned top-seeded Tim Harrison of C.B. Aycock 13-10 in the semifinals. Millbrook's John Conyers, the No. 2 seed, stopped Buckingham's gold-medal run by collecting a first-period pin.
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