12/19/06 — WRAL Invitational wrap-up

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WRAL Invitational wrap-up

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 19, 2006 1:47 PM

RALEIGH -- Three county wrestlers emerged runner-up in their respective weight classes during the prestigious WRAL Invitational contested Saturday at Athens Drive High School.

Southern Wayne senior Doogie Niemond (112 pounds), Eastern Wayne's Detori Mitchell (140) and Charles B. Aycock senior Bryant Lancaster (145) each returned home with a silver medal.

Aycock posted the fourth-highest finish among Class 3-A schools competing in the 33-team event. The Golden Falcons, who took just nine wrestlers to the day-long tournament, piled up 86.5 points -- good enough for 14th overall.

"Obviously, we were not happy taking just nine wrestlers, but sickness and injury are out of our control," said Aycock coach Kevin Smith, who has been grappling with the flu bug. "Still, we were able to finish in the same place we did last year, so we definitely got a lot of production out of the kids we were able to take."

The Saints ended up tied for 19th with Northwest Cabarrus at 66.5 points. The Warriors, first-time participants in the state's longest-running invitational, captured 20th with 62 points.

"I thought the boys wrestled pretty good," said Eastern Wayne coach Mike Brown. "A tournament that tough, it showed them what they needed to work on. We had a good practice today (Monday) and worked on some things from the weekend."

Tesar tumbled from the unbeaten ranks with a semifinal-round loss against Jack Britt's Manuel Ramirez, who eventually claimed the 119-pound title. Tesar settled for fourth after a tough, 2-0 overtime loss against Wilmington Laney's J.C. Wagner.

Cardinal Gibbons' Jon Burns pinned Mitchell midway through the second period in their championship bout. Mitchell suffered just his second defeat of the season.

"I was real pleased with Detori's effort," said Brown. "To finish second in a tournament like this was good for him."

The Warriors' Brandon Johnson endured losses against out-of-state wrestlers, including an overtime defeat against Voorhees' Travis Hoffman, in the 215-pound division. Hoffman settled for runner-up honors when Enka's Jake Lance pinned him late in the second period.

Brown said that Keith Broadie sustained a knee injury and wrestled just one match. He did not comment on Broadie's status for today's dual-team battle against county archrival Southern Wayne.

In addition to Lancaster, the Golden Falcons had three other wrestlers -- Ngu Tran, Ronald Lynn and Khiry Reid -- to record top-four performances in their respective weight classes. Ngu and Lynn each tied for fifth due to the five-match rule.

Reid toiled his way through the heavyweight division and claimed a bronze medal. The first-year starter edged the Saints' Josh Robinson 2-1 and avenged a sudden-death overtime loss against Robinson earlier in the day.

"Khiry just keeps getting better every week," said Smith. "He beat some quality wrestlers this weekend."

Bryant lost to Durham Riverside standout Colton Palmer, who became the first-ever four-time in WRAL Invitational history. Palmer dealt Bryant his first loss of the season with a second-period pin.

"Bryant really looked sharp all weekend and just ran into a great wrestler in the finals," said Smith. "His finals match doesn't diminish the fact that he had to beat a lot of tough, state-ranked wrestlers to get there.

"He earned every match he won."

Aycock begins defense of its Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season title today at Wilson Hunt. Eastern Wayne puts a 3-0 mark on the line at Southern Wayne, which has beaten the Warriors each of the past two seasons.

"It's going to be close," said Brown.