02/04/08 — Neal sets milestone in county

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Neal sets milestone in county

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 4, 2008 2:23 PM

Olivia Neal is no longer a "first-place loser."

She made sure it wouldn't happen again during a historical effort Saturday in the Class 1-A Carolina/Albemarle Conference wrestling championships.

A runner-up each of the past two seasons, Neal emerged the 103-pound champion with a 79-second fall over Manteo's T.J. Papenfuss in the finals. With the victory, Neal became the first-ever female wrestler in Wayne County history to surpass the 100-win total for her career.

"Olivia had a stellar day," said Rosewood coach Bill Edmundson. "She didn't give up a single point (in three matches), and accomplished two of her major goals."

Neal's medal-winning performance jump-started the Eagles, who collected 238.5 points en route to their 12th conference tournament title in the program's 14-year history. North Johnston ended up a distant second at 183, followed by Princeton (131) and Spring Creek (120).

"After having a really bad week last week, I think we rebounded extremely well," said Edmundson.


Following Neal's lead, Andy Seaman won the 112-pound division. J.D. Baker dominated the 125-pound weight class and Josh Holmes posted a 4-0 ledger at 145 pounds. Heavyweight Trevor Morris concluded the day 3-0, giving him 97 career wins heading into the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs.

"Josh Holmes is such a tough kid and he is so humble that his accomplishments seem to go unnoticed," said Edmundson. "Having 13 of our 14 starters place in this tournament was more than I could have expected. Tyler (Dean), Sammy (Ennis) and Johnathan (Rudolph) all wrestled their best matches of the year."

Spring Creek's Matt Richter picked up the 130-pound championship in impressive fashion. He pinned all four opponents, including a 28-second result against Manteo's Zach Zottoli in the finals.

Princeton's Zack Stevens and Josh Williford seized the 160- and 215-pound titles. Stevens had three falls and defeated Rosewood's Andrew Sass 8-4 in the finals. Williford logged a 5-0 worksheet that included three falls and a 4-1 conquest of Rosewood's J.P. Person in their championship tilt.

Rosewood wrestles at Topsail on Tuesday in the NCHSAA dual-team playoffs. The winner opposes either Heide Trask or Holly Ridge Dixon in the second round. First-round matches begin at 5 p.m.