Falcons defend Pilkington crown
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 9, 2006 2:23 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Terry Pilkington would have been proud.
On a sun-splashed day when teams wrestled in his honor at Charles B. Aycock High School, the late wrestling coach probably beamed with pride from the heavenly skies.
The Golden Falcons, for the seventh straight year, hoisted the engraved wooden plaque graced with Pilkington's caricature in triumph late Saturday afternoon. They won eight of the final nine individual matches and turned back perennial Class 2-A power Cedar Ridge 55-12.
"I was extremely happy with our team's performance today," said Aycock coach Kevin Smith. "We not only won some big duals as a team, several kids won individual matches against state-championship caliber competition.
"It shows us that we are continuing to get better as the year progresses, which is our goal."
Ten teams from the state's four classifications dueled for four preliminary rounds. The finals pitted the No. 1 teams from each pool against each other, and so on.
Southern Nash claimed third overall with a 47-25 victory over Raleigh Broughton. Rocky Mount Senior High defeated Heide Trask 48-36 in the fifth-place match. Wilson Fike nipped short-handed Southern Wayne 42-33 for seventh place. Princeton captured ninth with a 36-21 conquest of SouthWest Edgecombe.
"I thought we got stronger as the day wore on, which tells me that our conditioning is starting to get where it needs to be," said Smith. "Our best matches of the day were our last two (against Broughton and Cedar Ridge).
"We didn't look to be worn out from our previous matches. That makes me feel good about what we accomplished in the wrestling room over the holiday break."
The only school to field a full team (14 wrestlers), Aycock had nine grapplers to finish the day unbeaten.
Tim Harrison, a two-year starter, upended Daniel Newson of Broughton at 160 pounds. Newson entered the day ranked No. 2 among the state's Class 4-A wrestlers. He ended up fifth overall at last year's N.C. High School Athletic Association Individual Championships in Winston-Salem.
Ronald Lynn knocked off 140-pounder Chandler Collins from Cedar Ridge. A two-time state placer, Collins is ranked No. 2 among the North Carolina's 1-A/2-A wrestlers, according to the Super 32 Report published by ncmat.com.
"Tim and Ronald wrestled mistake-free today," said Smith. "Their matches against some of the toughest wrestlers in the state show just how well they wrestled. They both looked as well on their feet today as they have ever looked.
"Between the two of them, they gave up one takedown on the day."
Drake Gurley (103 pounds), Jordan Pearson (112), Ngu Tran (119), Derek Lancaster (125), Josh Overton (135), Bryant Lancaster (145) and 171-pounder Jason Steed each concluded the day with unblemished records.
The Golden Falcons collected just three pins in the title match against Cedar Ridge (12-6). Tran and Overton each captured a one-point decision. Pearson won in overtime, while Zach Wright and Jarrett Covar each drew a forfeit.
"All of these guys really wrestled well today," said Smith. "They really did a good job of controlling their matches and staying solid from start to finish.
"Josh and Jordan are making such a big contribution for us as a team right now. Both were coming off huge wins at Beddingfield and kept the momentum rolling this weekend. Their efforts are making us a much-stronger team from top to bottom."
Cedar Ridge won at 130, 152 and heavyweight.
Southern Wayne (3-7) and Princeton (3-11) wrestled short handed throughout the day. The two teams failed to fill a full squad but received solid individual performances.
The Saints got great efforts from Dustin Richards, Doogie Niemond, Tristan Bass, Josh Richards, Eric Futrell, John Futrell, Vic Darden, Kwame Smith, Ricky Coley, J.D. Medlin and heavyweight Josh Robinson.
Princeton, which is assisted by former Aycock grappler Matt Rast, finished 0-4 in pool play. But the Bulldogs got the right matchups and ended the day with a 15-point victory over SouthWest Edgecombe.
Southern Wayne returns visits Wilson Hunt tonight in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference action. Princeton plays host to Rosewood in a Carolina/Tar-Roanoke 1-A Conference on Tuesday. Aycock takes the week off before participating in an individual tournament at Beddingfield next weekend.
Smith plans to work on "correctable errors" in this week's practice.
"I will be the first to admit that I am being a little picky with the things we need to improve on, but it's my job to get these kids to reach their full potential," said Smith. "We are not quite there yet. (But) I am extremely pleased with all of them."
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