02/21/05 — NCHSAA championships notebook

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NCHSAA championships notebook

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 21, 2005 1:57 PM

Tough quarters for C.B. Aycock

WINSTON-SALEM -- Charles B. Aycock started Friday evening's quarterfinal round as the team leader and maintained that position despite a little misfortune.

Five of eight Golden Falcons endured losses during the quarterfinals and slipped into the consolation bracket. Once the final scores had been tabulated, Aycock shared the top perch with East Gaston -- the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A dual-team runner-up.

Seniors John Robertson (171 pounds) and Turner Wood (189) advanced to the semifinals along with 119-pound sophomore Ngu Tran, a first-year state qualifier. Robertson and Wood are the lone wrestlers representing the East Region in their respective weight classes.

"Ngu was my biggest surprise today," sixth-year Aycock coach Kevin Smith said. "We felt like we would do well in the first round. And we split the quarterfinals about like we thought we would."

Tran upended Western regional champ Matt Postell (Forestview) in the first round and rallied past Morehead's Jack Haynes later in the day.

"Ngu is the best example I can think of to illustrate the point that every match is tough at this level," Smith said. "It proves that if you come to wrestle, it really doesn't matter what you are seeded or where you end up in the bracket."

First-match jitters

Former state qualifiers always warn "newbies" that their first trip to the state tournament can be an overwhelming experience. Of Wayne County's 12 first-time qualifiers, five survived those ominous butterflies during first-round competition Friday morning.

Southern Wayne sophomore Doogie Niemond (103 pounds) was among those first-timers to taste defeat.

"(My teammates) told me to be calm, do what I do (best) and wrestle hard," Niemond said. "I was a little nervous my first match and didn't wrestle as well as I should have. I kind of got the jitters out this match (consolations) and took care of business."

Fellow Saints Tristan Bass, Vic Darden and Doni Wilkins also lost in the first round. They were joined by Aycock's Bryant Lancaster; Rosewood's tandem of Jim Bish and Matt Davis.

Overall, the 12 first-timers compiled a combined record of 5-7 in their first-ever state-tournament matches.

No guts, no glory

Rosewood senior Clayton Taylor dislocated his right kneecap during his Friday morning match against Salisbury's Brandon Walker, the Midwest Region champ.

Taylor, with help from head coach Bill Edmundson, hobbled off the mat and headed toward the training room.

"I couldn't tell Clayton that his career was finished, so he, his father and doctor agreed to let him attempt his last match," Edmundson said.

Taylor, his right leg heavily taped, answered the bell for his 215-pound, consolation-round match against Shelby's Wesley Tapia. Taylor's knee held out until Tapia scored a takedown past the midway point of the second period.

Taylor rolled onto his back and signaled that he could not finish. Edmundson helped Taylor to his feet, ending a stellar prep career with 84 victories and two state tournament appearances.

Carrying the EPC banner

North Pitt senior Raymond Pearson (171 pounds) is the lone wrestler left standing from the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference. Once-beaten this season, Pearson defeated West Lincoln's Daniel Soto in the opening round and outlasted Starmount's Franklin Plummer in the quarterfinals.

Regular-season and tournament champion Tarboro High had two qualifiers -- Chase Enzor (125) and 189-pounder Kirk Heffley. Enzor concluded the day 0-2 while Heffley remained alive in the consolation bracket. Heffley eventually stumbled in the latter consolation rounds.

Pearson ended up fourth overall after losing back-to-back matches in consolation action.

Freshmen you say?

Eight freshmen and 15 underclassmen overall comprised the 16-man bracket in the 103-pound 3-A weight class.

All four regional champions, including Eastern Wayne's Chris Tesar, were freshmen and three managed to escape from the opening round.

Hickory's Joe Alfonso was the lone casualty with a 4-2 setback to Southwestern Randolph's Tyler Brown.

New Century Club members

While he's done it quietly, Rosewood heavyweight Michael Sander is the fifth county wrestler to reach -- and surpass -- the 100-win mark this season.

Sander, a transfer from California, entered the two-day tournament with 51 wins. Before he suited up for the purple and gold, Sander brought a career record of 50-18 with him from the west coast. Sander's current record, including two Saturday victories, is 104-22.

Teammate Matt Davis achieved the mark during the NCHSAA 1-A dual-team tournament.

Aycock's Randy Meisenhelder hit the 100-win mark with a 14-3 major decision against 145-pounder Brandon Brendle of Parkland in the opening round.

Turner Wood recorded his milestone during the Cary News Invitational and John Robertson picked up his Century Club card during the NCHSAA 3-A dual-team playoffs.