12/12/05 — Warriors and Saints shine at Eagle Invite

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Warriors and Saints shine at Eagle Invite

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 12, 2005 2:06 PM

Eastern Wayne and Southern Wayne combined for six gold medals in the 10th annual Eagle Invitational contested Saturday, but neither could prevent White Oak from claiming the team championship.

The Warriors and Vikings waged a see-saw battle at the top, trading places throughout the latter rounds for most the afternoon. But Eastern Wayne faltered during wrestle backs (consolation) and White Oak gained considerable momentum in the 21-team, 11-hour event.

Despite having just one competitor in the championship round, the Vikings hung on to collect 198.5 points. The difference, according to Warrior head coach Mike Brown, turned out to be White Oak's efforts in the consolation bracket. The Vikings racked up three third-place finishes and had four grapplers to tie for third due to national federation rules which limit wrestlers to compete in five matches during one day.

Eastern Wayne, with three gold medalists and four finalists overall, recorded its fourth top-three finish of the season with 184.5 points. Southern Wayne, a top-five fixture in each of the past three Eagle Invitationals, ended up third with 171.5 points. West Johnston (168 points) and J.H. Rose (160.5) rounded out the top five, respectively.

The host Eagles emerged the top Class 1-A program, taking eighth overall with 116.5 points. Perennial power Edenton Holmes posted the best showing -- ninth with 93 points -- among the three participating 2-A schools.

"I thought White Oak and Eastern Wayne dominated the tournament," said veteran Rosewood coach Bill Edmundson. "As usual, Southern Wayne is so scrappy and their kids are so physically tough. They fought their way through the consolation round, and went from seventh to third in the last few rounds.

"Rose and Millbrook brought conditioned wrestlers who are very strong on technique."

Nine wrestlers successfully defended their No. 1 seed.

Warrior senior Travis Turner, unbeaten in 19 matches, seized the 171-pound title and walked away with Most Outstanding Wrestler honors. Sophomore 112-pounder Chris Tesar, like Turner, picked up his fourth individual title of the season at and ran his record to 16-0. Senior Joey Burridge earned his first-ever gold medal in tournament competition with a victory at 152 pounds.

"Travis wrestled fantastic," said Brown. "Joey finally broke the curse and I was tickled to death for him. Tesar had the toughest bracket because there were seven kids with winning percentages above .600.

"With him winning, it proves he deserves the recognition he's getting."

But Tesar's road to a gold medal wasn't easy. J.H. Rose grappler Daniel Fisher turned Tesar on his back in the third period and Tesar managed to survive. In the finals, Tesar faced Rosewood's Jim Bish for the third time this season and pulled off a tough, 5-1 win.

"The more they wrestle, the tougher it is for Chris to win," said Brown. "(Bish) is learning the style and Chris used to be able to take him down. On their feet, they are even now and Bish is improving."

Junior Brian Lincoln ended up second at 160 pounds and sophomore Tyler Wicks tied West Craven's Jeremy Brown for third at 189. Brandon Johnson tied for third at 215 pounds.

"White Oak didn't have that many (wrestlers) in the championships, but when I saw all the consolations and those automatic points (for ties), I knew we couldn't catch them," said coach Brown. "Sometimes I don't understand the scoring system. We only beat them by one point (at Pierce-Davis), so I knew it would be close.

"(But) it was a good tournament with good competition. I was pleased with the boys, overall."

First-year Southern Wayne coach Andy Sullivan paced like a nervous cat during the opening rounds, but felt confident his team might pull off a few surprises.

He was right.

Third-seeded Tristan Bass upended second-seeded Aaron Johnson of White Oak in the 125-pound semifinals. He followed that up with a 5-4 upset of top-seeded Nate Banks from J.H. Rose.

Eric Futrell, a top eight seed, shocked top-seeded Michael Baca of West Johnston 17-2 in the 135-pound quarterfinals. He easily defeated Lejeuene's Troy Edwards in the semifinal round and pinned third-seeded Joe Nash from Millbrook in the title bout.

Fellow Saint Vic Darden, a returning state qualifier, captured the 140-pound crown. Darden pinned three of four opponents, including top-seeded Darren Gardner of Wilson Beddingfield in the finals.

Doogie Niemond (112 pounds), John Futrell (145) and heavyweight Josh Robinson each tied for third.

Bish and senior captain Matt Davis anchored the Eagles' top-10 performance with silver medals. No other Rosewood wrestler placed among the top four in the remaining 12 weight classes.

"It seems like every week, it's the same result," said Edmundson. "Jim lost to Tesar for the third time and Matt lost to John Brewer from Fike for third time. Both of these guys (Tesar, Brewer) are undefeated on the season."

Davis jumped out a four-point lead against Brewer, who kept his patience during their 130-pound championship match. Brewer gained an escape and took Davis down, trimming the deficit to 4-3.

Brewer turned Davis for two quick nearfall points and eventually locked him in the cradle for the pin at 5 minutes, 9 seconds.

"J.D. Baker, Chris Hare, Byron Cavenaugh and Chris Holmes are all looking good, but their inexperience is catching up on them," said Edmundson. "They are getting better every week and I fully expect us to be at a very competitive level come mid-January.

"David Smeltzer, Andrew Sass and Trevor Morris have made the biggest improvements of the new guys on the team."

Spring Creek senior Wes Denham grabbed his second gold medal of the season and remained unbeaten in 10 outings at 215 pounds.

Princeton's Brandon Baker finished second at 119 pounds.

10th annual

Eagle Invitational

(at Rosewood HS)

Team scores

1. Jacksonville White Oak (WO) 198.5; 2. Eastern Wayne (EW) 184.5; 3. Southern Wayne (SW) 171.5; 4. West Johnston (WJ) 168; 5. J.H. Rose (JHR) 160.5; 6. Millbrook (M) 159; 7. South Central (SC) 119.5; 8. Rosewood (RHS) 116.5; 9. Edenton (E) 93; 10. Lejeune (L) 89; 11. Wilson Fike (WF) 88; 12. Tarboro High (THS) 86; 13. West Craven (WC) 81; 14. Princeton (PHS) 78; 15. North Pitt (NP) 77; 16. Wilson Hunt (H) 67; 17. Dixon (D) 63.5; 18. Wilson Beddingfield (WB) 56.5; 19. Spring Creek (SC) 51; 19. SouthWest Edgecombe (SWE) 51; 21. Bunn (Bu) 47.

Championship finals

103 -- Will Pate (JHR) maj. dec. Brandon Mulcahy (L), 12-1; 112 -- Chris Tesar (EW) dec. Jim Bish (RHS), 5-1; 119 -- Tony Miller (D) wbf Brandon Baker (PHS), 2:43; 125 -- Tristen Bass (SW) dec. Nate Banks (JHR), 5-4; 130 -- John Brewer (WF) wbf Matt Davis (RHS), 5:09; 135 -- Eric Futrell (SW) wbf Joe Nash (M), 3:23; 140 -- Vic Darden (SW) wbf Darren Gardner (WB), 3:36; 145 -- Cornelius Williams (M) dec. Cody Bradshaw (D), 13-7; 152 -- Joey Burridge (EW) dec. Hayes Swanson (E), 9-3; 160 -- Blake Goodall (JHR) wbf Brian Lincoln (EW), 1:10; 171 -- Travis Turner (EW) wbf James Krueger (WO), 1:16; 189 -- Kirk Heffley (THS) wbf Quentin Conyers (M), 1:28; 215 -- Wes Denham (SC) dec. Jamaine Moore (WC), 4-1; Hwt -- Justin Allen (M) wbf Eric Sutton (THS), 1:50.