01/16/07 — Battle at Little Big Horn recap

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Battle at Little Big Horn recap

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 16, 2007 2:36 PM

Eastern Wayne wrestlers Chris Tesar, Detori Mitchell and Brandon Johnson continued their dominance on the invitational scene during the 2nd annual Battle at Little Big Horn contested on their home mats.

Each grappler seized a gold medal in the day-long competition and helped guide the Warriors to a 126-point effort -- good enough for third overall in the 16-team competition.

Perennial Class 4-A power New Bern piled up 152 points and Northwest Guilford, a last-minute entrant, claimed the runner-up spot with 120 points. Raleigh Athens Drive finished fourth behind the host Warriors with 108 points and Swansboro rounded out the top five with a 90-point outing.

Southern Wayne, which put just seven wrestlers on the mats, ended up 13th overall with 58.5 points. The Saints finished second a year ago.

"Several people said it was one of the most well-balanced tournaments they've been to," said Eastern Wayne head coach Mike Brown. "Until the end, there was a 10-point difference between the top three teams.

"I was pleased with the way things went and the way our boys wrestled."

Tesar overcame adversity in the 119-pound title match against Northwest Guilford's D.J. Miller. Tesar (33-2) took a sharp blow to the nose and Brown thought he had broken it.

A state runner-up last season, Tesar held on for a 7-4 win.

"Miller came back and made it a close match," said Brown.

Mitchell, by far, turned in the most-dominating results of the day. He pinned every opponent en route to the 140-pound championship, and earned Most Outstanding Wrestler accolades.

"Nobody came close to Detori all day," said Brown. "He had an outstanding tournament."

Johnson, the state's No. 1-ranked wrestler at 215 pounds among the 3-A classification, squeezed out an overtime decision against South Central's Matt Stoeckle. Johnson pinned Stoeckle in their previous meeting less than two weeks ago.

A.J. Washington worked his way through one of the tournament's more-difficult brackets and finished third at 140 pounds. He pinned South Johnston's Daniel Nunez late in the second period.

"As a youngster, A.J. is coming along," said Brown. "He probably would have finished second had the brackets been different."

The Warriors collected seven medals in last year's tournament.

"We were only three points away from second place, so I can't say I was disappointed," said Brown. "New Bern was strong, and was one of the few teams that had everybody there.

"I thought our new kids stepped up and several of them did good."

Southern Wayne's Tristan Bass and Josh Robinson each took second place in their respective weight classes. Bass lost to D.H. Conley's Corey Sly in the 125-pound final, while Robinson endured a tough 3-2 loss against Tarboro's Eric Sutton in the heavyweight title match.

Sutton successfully defended his championship.

Eric Futrell placed third at 145 pounds and John Futrell was fourth at 160 pounds.

The Warriors and Saints are off due to semester exams, and each must complete official weigh-ins mandated by the N.C. High School Athletic Association this week. Eastern Wayne returns to action Saturday in a day-long dual meet at Havelock.

Brown suspects his team will see Havelock in the NCHSAA dual-team playoffs, which begin Feb. 6. The Warriors are also expected to wrestle against West Carteret, Washington, West Craven and D.H. Conley.