Falcons fall in Firebird Title match
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 22, 2007 1:47 PM
STANHOPE -- For two-plus seasons, eastern North Carolina teams have failed to reveal the chink in Charles B. Aycock's wrestling armor during regular-season, dual-team competition.
Perennial Class 4-A power Cary discovered the flaw Saturday afternoon. The Imps prevailed in eight of 13 contested individual matches and dealt the Golden Falcons a 45-15 defeat in the championship match of the 8th annual Thomas Cowles Memorial Firebird Duals.
C.B. Aycock saw its school-record, regular-season win streak conclude at 58 matches. The Golden Falcons, ranked No. 1 by The Takedown Report, suffered their first loss in 21 dual-team outings this season.
Disappointed with the outcome, Aycock head coach Kevin Smith took some solace in the loss when informed of the school record.
"I don't keep up with things like that, so it never occurred to me," said Smith. "All good things have to come to an end. It did us a lot of good to see a team like Cary that has a lot of studs. They are a powerhouse.
"But some of the individual matches gave some of my kids confidence, too."
Meanwhile, Rosewood overcame an inauspicious start in the 13-team event that honored former Southern Nash head coach Thomas Cowles. Despite an opening-round forfeit, which ended under protest, the Eagles established a new single-season, dual-team win record. Coach Bill Edmundson's grapplers exited 25-7 overall and surpassed the program's record of 22 victories set in 1998 and tied in 2005.
The Eagles knocked off Rocky Mount for eighth place.
The Golden Falcons thumped Rocky Mount (56-15) and Franklinton (73-6) in pool play. They dismantled Southern Nash 57-21 in the quarterfinals, and doubled up New Bern 42-21 in semifinal-round action.
"I felt like we really put it all together today against a very talented New Bern team," said Smith. "More than any other time this year, I felt like all of the kids were on the same page and understood what it would take to win a dual against such a quality opponent.
"Without a doubt, it was our best team effort of the season."
Cary averaged 70-plus points during its four matches and yielded just 12 points total. Coach Jerry Winterton brought seven returning state placers, including a state champion, and 12 state-ranked wrestlers overall to the day-long tournament.
Aycock triumphed in five individual matches. Bryant Lancaster (145 pounds), Daniel Huang (189), heavyweight Khiry Reid, Ngu Tran (125) and Kevin Carmel (130) each claimed a three-point decision. Lancaster upset a No. 2-ranked wrestler who finished fourth in Washington state last season, and Reid stunned No. 1-ranked Eloheim Palma in triple overtime.
Reid and Palma ended regulation tied at 1-1 and the score remained deadlocked after the first overtime session. Each scored in double overtime and Reid earned an escape point in sudden-death OT.
"A super match," gushed Smith. "Both had chances to win in regulation, but were unable to complete their takedowns. Khiry wrestled his best match of the season ... was solid on his feet and wrestled mistake-free. He keeps getting better every week."
Reid, Lancaster and Tran fashioned 5-0 records on the day. Ronald Lynn, Josh Overton, Josh Grimes, Jarrett Covar and Carmel each finished 4-1.
"With Parkland last week, and New Bern and Cary this week, I think we have done a great job getting those tough (individual) matches for our wrestlers," said Smith. "I thought our kids took the challenge of wrestling a team like Cary, and in most cases, gave their very best effort.
"Overall, I have very little to complain about today. We are moving in the right direction."
Rosewood staked an early 17-9 advantage in its opening-round tilt against First Flight. But the head official stopped the action midway through the 140-pound bout and had a discussion with Eagles head coach Bill Edmundson.
Moments later, the head official awarded a team forfeit to First Flight.
Edmundson said Sunday the match remains under protest due to a discrepancy interpreting the head official's match-ending decision. Edmundson would not elaborate further, but added booking agent Joe Tkach has been notified through email of the situation that occurred.
The Eagles rebounded from the opening-match adversity in stirring fashion. They throttled Northern Nash 62-15, outlasted Tarboro 48-33 and dumped Franklinton 77-6. Rosewood seized eight individual wins in the eighth-place match against Rocky Mount.
"Vontarius Kornegay and Dusten Patterson, both first-year wrestlers, had huge wins that sealed the win against Rocky Mount," said Edmundson.
Jim Bish pinned First Flight's J.D. Cunningham for the second time this season, while Chris Hare earned nail-biting wins against First Flight and Rocky Mount. Bish and Hare picked up five wins apiece, and have combined for 88 individual victories overall this season.
Olivia Neal went 4-0, while J.D. Baker ended up 4-1. Baker lost a close 7-4 decision to First Flight's Joseph Bunnell and leads the series 2-1 this season. Edmundson said the two could possibly meet again in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A/2-A eastern regional at Croatan in mid-February.
"J.D. has had a tough week with two losses, but he is the type of kid that will use this as a learning experience and motivating factor to become a better wrestler," said Edmundson.
Overall, 17 Rosewood wrestlers managed to win at least one match during the day. Ariel Nacca seized her first-ever pin in varsity competition at 119 pounds against Franklinton.
C.B. Aycock and Rosewood will each take three days off before wrestling dual matches on Thursday. The Golden Falcons (20-1) entertain county rival Southern Wayne at 7 p.m. Thursday.
A victory assures the Golden Falcons of their eighth consecutive trip to the NCHSAA dual-team playoffs. They will host a tri-meet Friday against South Lenoir and Wilson Fike.
The Eagles are the guests of Wilson Beddingfield on Thursday and they will travel to Clinton for a dual match on Friday.
8th annual Thomas Cowles
Memorial Firebird Duals
(at Southern Nash HS, Stanhope)
C.B. Aycock 15
140 -- Brotzman (Cary) wbf Overton, 3 minutes, 27 seconds; 145 -- Lancaster (CBA) dec. Parker, 8-3; 152 -- Ferguson (Cary) wbf Grimes, 3:51; 160 -- Wang (Cary) dec. Bentley, 3-0; 171 -- Hoerdemann (Cary) wbf Harmon, 0:53; 189 -- Huang (CBA) dec. Freeman, 2-1; 215 -- Dixon (Cary) wbf Covar, 3:18; Hwt -- Reid (CBA) dec. Palma 3-2 (3 OT); 103 -- Farnsworth (Cary) by forfeit; 112 -- Nguyen (Cary) wbf Pulley, 0:45; 119 -- Risk (Cary) dec. Gurley, 2-0; 125 -- Tran (CBA) dec. White, 4-3; 130 -- Carmel (CBA) dec. Shackelford, 5-3; 135 -- Koren (Cary) dec. Lynn, 10-5.
Record: C.B. Aycock 20-1.
Next match: Thursday, home vs. Southern Wayne.
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