11/16/07 — C.B. Aycock grappers begin post-Smith era

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C.B. Aycock grappers begin post-Smith era

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 16, 2007 3:12 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock begins the post-Kevin Smith era on the wrestling mats Saturday morning.

And the Golden Falcons will be hard-pressed to claim their sixth consecutive Falcon Invitational crown. First-year head coach Mark Bass will suit up several grapplers who saw time last season, but aren't experienced like the corps of seniors who graduated a year ago.

First-round matches begin at 9 a.m. and admission for the day-long event is $5.

"(Defending the title) will be extremely difficult," said Bass. "No team in any sport replaces half its lineup without initially taking a step back until all the pieces fall into their correct places.

"Although, I do have some very capable wrestlers and a very capable coaching staff to get us where we want to be."

Bass expects to field a competitive team this weekend.

"We need to wrestle hard and aggressive," said Bass. "If we make mistakes, it will not be due to effort or drive. I will be getting quite a few new varsity wrestlers' "feet wet" and I want them to do good fundamental things on the mat.

"I want to work the 'rust' off the returners with some good, solid competition."

Joining C.B. Aycock for the Invitational's sixth installment are county rivals Eastern Wayne, Southern Wayne and Rosewood. Also participating are Ayden-Grifton, Wilson Beddingfield, Bunn, Clayton, D.H. Conley, Knightdale, J.H. Rose, Manteo, Princeton, SouthWest Edgecombe, Tarboro, Wilson Hunt and Washington.

Several of those programs advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs last winter.

Individuals to watch include Chris Tesar and A.J. Washington of Eastern Wayne; senior Marcellus Perry, senior Anthony Rogers and senior Mark Armstrong, all from Knightdale; senior Jarrett Covar (CBA); senior Josh Robinson (So. Wayne); senior Joseph Bunnell (Manteo); senior Daniel Garcia (Washington) and several more.

Bass anticipates top-notch competition in every weight class.

"Favored teams? You've got to remember it's early and a lot of the schools are still playing football, or just got their football players," said Bass. "It's hard to truly put a finger on it. I am honored to follow coach Terry (Pilkington) and Kevin as the head coach of this program.

"I am very excited about leading this group of young men onto the mat."