CBA takes ECC wrestling tournament
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 8, 2010 1:46 PM
PIKEVILLE -- The depth paid off for Charles B. Aycock.
The only team to put a full squad on the wrestling mats, the Golden Falcons collected critical points and reclaimed a championship it dearly missed a year ago.
Just three Aycock grapplers emerged gold medalists, but eight more ended up with silver medals during the season-ending Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament Saturday afternoon. The Golden Falcons out-pointed Triton 209-158, and captured their fourth tournament crown in the past six years.
Southern Wayne, which had three individual champions, placed third with 103 points. Eastern Wayne (91 points) and South Johnston (81) rounded out the five-team group.
All five teams had at least one individual champion.
"When I brought those six young kids off the JV football squad, one of my biggest goals was to get a full lineup so we could be in position for a conference championship," said Aycock coach Marc Peck of the team's depth. "It took a lot of work ... half the season to get the lineup set. Jon Rudolph and Kaleb Robinson made sacrifices for the betterment of the team to keep slots open.
"And honestly, I think even though we did have a full lineup, it was mat experience and managing your match in a championship-pressure situation (for the younger wrestlers)."
Rudolph, a senior transfer from Rosewood, rallied from a 9-6 third-period deficit to seize the 189-pound crown. He earned an escape and picked up the tying points with a double-leg takedown against Triton's Charlie Smith.
The two dueled into overtime before Rudolph notched the match-clinching takedown. Smith finished third.
Teammate Preston Tucker also won in dramatic fashion at 130 pounds after injuring his ankle and knee in practice on Friday. South Johnston's Jessie Hall dominated from the outset and built a 14-0 lead in points before Tucker completed the "spladle" -- a combination of a banana split and cradle.
Hall couldn't kick out and the ref called the pin in the final half minute of the third period.
"To hit that spladle for a pin was really special for him ... exciting," said Peck.
Fellow senior Justin Farrell, who joined the program's Century Club (100 wins) less than 10 days ago, kept a business-like demeanor throughout the day. Farrell grabbed the 119-pound title and walked away with ECC wrestler-of-the-year honors.
Farrell became the seventh Aycock grappler to garner WOY accolades since 2000.
"That's just a testament to overcoming challenges and is the mark of a champion," said Peck of Farrell. "He's overcome some dings that a lot of people don't know about. He just kept fighting and has really turned the corner for us in the area of leadership."
The Golden Falcons' second-place finishers were Mario Darby, the brother combo of David and Daniel Romo, Zeb Darden, Khaleil Owens, Nick Simmons, Robinson and heavyweight Jarrod James. Robinson and James each lost in sudden-death overtime.
Aaron Pate, Jordan Lee and Travion Lewis each took third in their respective weight classes.
Aycock, which won the regular-season title, received the team sportsmanship award.
"To win that sportsmanship (award) means a lot to me," said Peck, who was named the ECC coach of the year. "Mark (Bass) and I are trying to raise young men with character and that individual stuff will fall into place. To me, it's about the team."