02/06/06 — Rosewood takes C/TRC/A championship

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Rosewood takes C/TRC/A championship

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 6, 2006 2:12 PM

One week after clinching the inaugural Class 1-A Carolina/Tar-Roanoke/Albemarle Conference regular-season title, Rosewood High added the tournament crown Saturday afternoon.

Senior captain Matt Davis emerged the lone individual champion, but the Eagles notched four second-place finishes to record 199 points -- 37 more than runner-up Manteo.

Princeton, led by gold medalists Matt Blackwell and Baudelio Valadez, seized third with 135 points. Spring Creek finished fourth with 126 points thanks to championship efforts from Daquan Wright (160 pounds) and two-time state qualifier Wes Denham (215).

Louisburg (104 points) and North Johnston (92) rounded out the six-team field.

"Manteo was extremely impressive, bringing six wrestlers and leaving with six conference championships," said veteran Rosewood High coach Bill Edmundson, whose youngest and most-inexperienced Eagle squad produced the program's 10th consecutive tournament title.

"This year's tournament was much more competitive with the new wrestling schools continuing to improve."

Davis boosted his career and county-leading win total to 156. Davis defeated the Gators' Eric Walters in the finals at 130 pounds.

Sophomore Olivia Neal kept Manteo's Rick Bateman, the No. 1 seed at 103 pounds, on his back a couple of times early in their match. Bateman eventually turned Neal and recorded a fall. It was just Neal's third loss in 23 outings this season.

Jim Bish (112), J.D. Baker (119), Chris Hare (125), Chris Holmes (171) and David Smeltzer (189) each collected a silver medal. Bish lost a one-point decision against the Redskins' Josh Bennell in the title match. Baker suffered his second loss in just seven days against defending state champion Mike Boring.

"Most wrestlers shy away or even bump around a defending state champion, but no J.D.," said Edmundson. "He trained extra hard this week trying to prepare for Boring. He is working very advanced moves and countering moves naturally now.

"J.D. continues to impress me as well as other coaches."

Hare had Manteo's Larry Ellis on his back for the entire first period. But Ellis, who defaulted against Hare last week because of a bad back, earned a second-period fall.

Rosewood's Anthony Gibson (135) and Brandon Dean (215) each earned a bronze medal.

Spring Creek's Wright knocked off Louisburg's Keith Lancaster in the 160-pound final. Wright was seeded second.

Denham, the Gators' all-time leader in single-season and career victories, easily defended his No. 1 seed at 215 pounds. Denham is expected to draw a top four seed in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A/2-A eastern regional at Croatan in two weeks.

The Gators' Paul Richter finished second at 135 pounds. David Magnus (140) and Ross Montifia (171) each finished third.

Princeton's Valadez defeated the Eagles' Smeltzer for the 215-pound title.

"David wrestled great today, making just one error," said Edmundson. "It was an aggressive move, so I'll give him credit for trying. David's second-place finish was impressive considering the group he was in."

The Bulldogs' Blackwell defeated North Johnston's Denver Nixon in their 152-pound title match.

Heavyweight Jon Hartley, Zack Stevens (145), Brandon Baker (119) and Matt Wilkins (125) each finished third.

Each school had at least one individual champion who earned a spot on the all-conference team. Edmundson said that wrestlers who finished second also received all-conference recognition.