01/29/06 — Rosewood grapplers seize C/TRC/Albemarle regular-season title

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Rosewood grapplers seize C/TRC/Albemarle regular-season title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 29, 2006 2:18 AM

Rosewood High's wrestlers easily put preseason concerns surrounding its tradition-rich program to rest Saturday afternoon.

Despite winning just one of six contested individual matches, the Eagles turned back short-handed Manteo 54-25 and seized the inaugural Class 1-A Carolina/Tar-Roanoke/Albemarle Conference regular-season title. Rosewood (19-7) also clinched the league's No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which begin Feb. 7.

The Eagles collected their ninth consecutive regular-season championship and 11th overall in the program's 14-year history. Rosewood finished unbeaten in conference play for the third straight year.

"It's great for our kids to experience being conference champions," said veteran Rosewood coach Bill Edmundson.

At first, Edmundson didn't seem too troubled over the lineup vacancies left by five graduating starters -- including four conference champions. He expected 10 starters to return and knew the younger wrestlers would improve as the season progressed.

Who could blame him?

But six of those returning starters had other thoughts. Four never attended the first day of practice and a fifth quit due to personal reasons. The other moved out of state. The lack of dedication distressed Edmundson and the Wilson Beddingfield graduate contemplated the possibility of seeing the Eagles' conference-title reign end this winter.

With the addition of powerhouse Manteo in the mix, Edmundson recognized that his team's weaknesses needed to be addressed and drilled daily. Edmundson relied on his four returning conference champions, particularly senior captain Matt Davis, to shoulder the leadership responsibility.

And these Eagles -- undoubtedly -- exceeded those preseason worries.

"It looked like a lot of weight was going to be put on the guys with experience and that has pulled us through," said Edmundson, who has 263 career victories. "The inexperienced guys are getting better every single week, but they didn't get a chance to wrestle today because of forfeits.

"They have shouldered a lot of pressure to carry us through the matches."

Rosewood experienced little pressure against Manteo, which had just six wrestlers and county rival Spring Creek. The Redskins (7-17, 2-3 C/T-RC/A) took five individual wins against the Eagles, but yielded a whopping 48 points in forfeits.

The Eagles' Chris Hare claimed the lone "actual" win with an injury default against Larry Ellis. Davis (130 pounds), Byron Cavenaugh (140), Andrew Sass (145), Trent Harrell (152), Jordan Owens (160), David Smeltzer (189), Brandon Dean (215) and heavyweight Trevor Morris each drew a forfeit.

Manteo's Mike Boring, the reigning NCHSAA 112-pound 1-A/2-A champion, pinned J.D. Baker at 119. Teammate Gradon Shaw, a returning state qualifier, pinned 171-pounder Chris Holmes in 3 minutes, 20 seconds. Rick Bateman (103), Kyle Hauck (135) and Joseph Bennell (112) also secured individual wins for the Redskins.

"Everybody who has wrestled them knows that their six guys are studs," said a grinning Edmundson. "That's all there is to it. It's fortunate that we wrestled them today and we have them next weekend here.

"They were all close matches except for 119 (pounds). With what we saw and gained knowledge on, hopefully we'll be able to succeed in the conference tournament next weekend."

Rosewood triumphed in four of six contested matches in a 72-12 rout of Spring Creek. The Eagles received seven forfeits and also picked up a win due to disqualification for improper equipment.

Gibson, Cavenaugh, Holmes and David Smeltzer each provided a pin in the regular-season finale for both teams. Andrew Sass, Trent Harrell, Olivia Neal, Bish, Baker, Hare and Davis each recorded a forfeit win.

Daquan Wright and senior Wes Denham (27-2) each registered a pin for the Gators.

Seated underneath the bright purple banner recognizing the wrestling team's conference titles, Edmundson beamed with pride over his team's most-rewarding accomplishment.

"It's the commitment our kids made to stick it out all season," said Edmundson. "In our wrestling room, we have a sign that says 'Those who remain will become champions.'"

After Saturday, the statement certainly rings true.

Manteo 32

Spring Creek 30

125 -- double forfeit; 130 -- Larry Ellis (M) dec. Darin Straub, 6-1; 135 -- Kyle Hauck (M) tech fall Eric Walters, 18-3; 140 -- David Magnus (SC) by forfeit; 145 -- double forfeit; 152 -- double forfeit; 160 -- Daquan Wright (SC) by forfeit; 171 -- Gradon Shaw (M) wbf Ross Montafia, 3:05; 189 -- Patrick Murphy (SC) by forfeit; 215 -- Wes Denham (SC) by forfeit; Hwt -- Dwight Strickland (SC) by forfeit; 103 -- Rick Bateman (M) by forfeit; 112 -- Joseph Bennell (M) by forfeit; 119 -- Mike Boring (M) by forfeit.

Records: Manteo 7-16, 2-2 Carolina/Tar-Roanoke/Albemarle Conference.

Rosewood 54

Manteo 25

130 -- Matt Davis (RHS) by forfeit; 135 -- Kyle Hauck (M) maj. dec. Anthony Gibson, 18-8; 140 -- Byron Cavenaugh (RHS) by forfeit; 145 -- Andrew Sass (RHS) by forfeit; 152 -- Trent Harrell (RHS) by forfeit; 160 -- Jordan Owens (RHS) by forfeit; 171 -- Gradon Shaw (M) wbf Chris Holmes, 3:20; 189 -- David Smeltzer (RHS) by forfeit; 215 -- Brandon Dean (RHS) by forfeit; Hwt -- Trevor Morris (RHS) by forfeit; 103 -- Rick Bateman (M) wbf Gabriel Castro, 3:00; 112 -- Joseph Bennell (M) dec. Jim Bish, 4-2; 119 -- Mike Boring (M) wbf J.D. Baker, 1:40; 125 -- Chris Hare (RHS) inj. def. Larry Ellis.

Records: Rosewood 18-7, 5-0 C/TRC/Albemarle; Manteo 7-17, 2-3.

Rosewood 72

Spring Creek 12

135 -- Anthony Gibson (RHS) wbf Eric Walters, 1:57; 140 -- Byron Cavenaugh (RHS) wbf David Magnus, 2:57; 145 -- Andrew Sass (RHS) by forfeit; 152 -- Trent Sasser (RHS) by forfeit; 160 -- Daquan Wright (SC) wbf Jordan Owens, 0:42; 171 -- Chris Holmes (RHS) wbf Ross Montafia, 0:48; 189 -- David Smeltzer (RHS) wbf Patrick Murphy, 0:53; 215 -- Wes Denham (SC) wbf Brandon Dean, 0:12; Hwt -- Trevor Morris (RHS) disqualification over Dwight Strickland; 103 -- Olivia Neal (RHS) by forfeit; 112 -- Jim Bish (RHS) by forfeit; 119 -- J.D. Baker (RHS) by forfeit; 125 -- Chris Hare (RHS) by forfeit; 130 -- Matt Davis (RHS) by forfeit.

Records: Rosewood 19-7.