11/21/05 — Charles B. Aycock wins third straight Falcon Invitational

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Charles B. Aycock wins third straight Falcon Invitational

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 21, 2005 2:01 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Five new starters mixed with returning veterans kept Charles B. Aycock in a familiar position -- first place -- upon completion of the fourth annual Falcon Invitational late Saturday evening.

The Golden Falcons placed 11 of 13 competitors in either the championship or consolation finals, and successfully defended their crown for the third consecutive year. Derek Lancaster and Ronald Lynn each claimed a gold medal, while eight teammates seized either silver or bronze medals en route to 202.5 team points.

Senior Travis Turner collected career win No. 100 and helped Eastern Wayne, a three-time Invitational participant, record its best showing with 133 points. J.H. Rose finished third with 122 points, followed by Tarboro High (100.5) and Southern Nash (99.5).

County members Southern Wayne and Spring Creek finished eighth and ninth, respectively. The teams combined for six medals.

Eleven wrestlers protected their No. 1 seed and eight teams had at least one grappler to win either gold, silver or bronze. All 13 competing schools had at least one participant to finish among the top four.

"I think today was exactly what an early-season tournament is supposed to be -- a chance to get your kids some quality matches, and identify your team's weaknesses," said C.B. Aycock coach Kevin Smith. "We won a lot of matches on just plain old grit and determination today ... meaning our technique definitely needs some polishing.

"I was very happy to see all of the kids wrestle so physically."

Sam Rabhan (130 pounds), Steve Bentley (152), Zach Wright (189), Jarrett Covar (215) and heavyweight Shane Lozier got their first taste of varsity wrestling. Wright and Lozier each finished third overall, while Bentley and Covar each ended up fourth.

"The young kids really got some valuable mat time today," said Smith. "For about four of them, mat time is really all they need at this point. Their technique is solid, they just need some more experience.

"That experience is going to make them excellent wrestlers by the end of the year."

Drake Gurley (103), Ngu Tran (119), Josh Overton (135) Bryant Lancaster (145) and Tim Harrison (160) each collected a silver medal. Jason Steed picked up a bronze medal at 171 pounds. Harrison and Southern Nash 140-pounder Brett Samonia tied for the fastest pin -- 12 seconds.

Lynn became just the second Golden Falcon wrestler to win two Invitational titles. Turner and Manteo senior Mike Boring, who received the Invitational's most outstanding wrestler award, also joined the two-time champions list.

C.B. Aycock topped the 200-point plateau for the third straight year and set an Invitational record for victory margin -- 69.5 points. The Golden Falcons beat Wake Forest-Rolesville by 20 points in the inaugural Invitational in 2002.

"Derek and Ronald wrestled mistake free all day," said Smith. "I thought they did a great job of controlling their matches from beginning to end. Josh has improved so much during the offseason. He has worked very hard to become stronger and more physical on the mat.

"I was glad to see him do well today."

The Golden Falcons entered the final rounds with a 58.5-point advantage over Eastern Wayne. But the Warriors found themselves in a dogfight with Rose, a member of the Coastal 3-A/4-A Conference. A scant nine points separated the two teams and they flip-flopped positions during the final rounds.

Turner secured second place for the Warriors with a 6-1 decision against Rose's Blake Goodall in the 171-pound final. Turner boosted his career victory total to 102 and is the first wrestler to reach the century mark (100 wins) during Mike Brown's nine-year tenure as Eastern Wayne coach.

Turner finished second behind Boring in MOW voting.

"I was hoping for a second-place finish and that's just what we did," said Brown. "It was tight and I knew it would be close. He's (Rose coach) has got a good team. We split (dual matches) with him last year and he's got most of his kids back off last year's team.

"I just think the boys did extremely well."

Sophomore Chris Tesar emerged the 112-pound champion with a tight, 7-5 decision against Southern Wayne's Doogie Niemond. Niemond, the No. 2 seed in the seven-man bracket, eliminated Rose's Daniel Fisher in the semifinals.

Senior Joey Burridge reached the 152-pound final, but couldn't wrestle due to a deep chest bruise. Burridge, the No. 2 seed, pinned Hunt's Charles Pittman and blanked Southern Wayne's Zack Shearin 4-0 in the semifinals.

"Joey's injury doesn't look to be anything serious," said Brown.

Teammates Brian Lincoln (160) and 215-pounder Brandon Johnson each registered a third-place finish.

Brown lauded praise for his five medal winners, but also added he couldn't have been more happier with each wrestler's aggressive attitude on the mat.

"We're looking for pins, back points and just trying to attack instead of being on the defensive," said Brown. "We seemed to have done it (well). Maybe everything is coming together and clicking."

Along with Niemond, Josh Richards (135) and heavyweight Josh Robinson each took silver for the Saints. John Futrell placed third at 145 pounds, while Dustin Richards ended up fourth at 103.

Spring Creek senior Wes Denham claimed the Gators' first-ever gold medal in four Invitational appearances. Denham posted a 9-1 major decision against Tarboro's Hunter Barber in their 215-pound title match.

Darin Straub won bronze at 125 pounds with a 13-1 major decision against Roanoke Rapids' Sam Lawrence, who received a first-place vote for most outstanding wrestler. Fellow Gator Daquan Wright lost to the Warriors' Lincoln in the third-place match at 160 pounds.

Two of the four county teams return to the mat this week.

Eastern Wayne (1-0) and Southern Wayne travel to New Bern and South Johnston, respectively, on Tuesday. Spring Creek doesn't wrestle again until Dec. 6 in a tri-meet with South Lenoir and East Duplin.

C.B. Aycock opens its dual-meet season Nov. 30 against Clayton.

"There is plenty to work on, but as I have said before, we do not want to be wrestling our best in November," said Aycock's Smith. "We want to be at 110 percent in February when it counts, and we still have plenty to do to reach that point.

"As well as we did today, the coaching staff won't let the boys enjoy it too much."