E. Wayne, So. Wayne grapplers surprise coaches
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 8, 2010 1:46 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Surprise.
And more surprise.
County foes Eastern Wayne and Southern Wayne, which each struggled on the dual-team scene this season, had memorable performances during Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference wrestling tournament on Saturday.
The Warriors and Saints combined for six gold medals. All were earned in head-to-head competition against eventual tournament champion Charles B. Aycock.
"I'm very happy with a lot of improvements we have made," said first-year Eastern Wayne head coach Jon Jones.
Eastern Wayne's Corben Harris (125 pounds) and Austin Helm (135) defeated the Golden Falcons' Daniel Romo and Zeb Darden, respectively. The two grapplers combined to allow just three points in 12 minutes of action on the mat.
Teammate James Barrett turned in the most heart-stopping effort of the afternoon. Barrett and Aycock's Kaleb Robinson battled into sudden-death overtime where Barrett scored the match-clinching point on an escape.
Barrett ended the day 4-0.
"You had two evenly-matched kids and I was glad to see him (Barrett) come out with a win," said Jones. "The improvement he has made has been in mental toughness ... putting some moves and thought behind the athletic ability. I was glad to see him be smart and pull out that match."
Logan Wicks captured second at 189 pounds, while Meagan LaFave and Blake Terrell ended up third at 112 and 215 pounds, respectively. Eric Lemmon took fourth at 160.
"Blake, I couldn't be more proud of either him or Eric Lemmon," said Jones. "Those kids had so far to go at the beginning of the season. For Blake to stick it out and keep working as hard as he did ... is a lot different than he was two months ago."
The Warriors logged 91 points -- good for fourth overall in the five-team event.
First-year Southern Wayne head coach Joseph Kincaid expected to see a couple of wrestlers -- particularly Ethan Brogden and Minek Ford -- return home with gold medals. However, the team's third-place showing with 103 points nearly stunned the former prep star.
"We were completely surprised that we came in third ... really enthused that we did so well," said Kincaid.
Brogden secured the Saints' first gold medal with a 4-0 decision over Aycock's Khaleil Owens at 152 pounds. Ford followed with a workman-like, 11-5 decision over the Golden Falcons' Nick Simmons at 160 pounds.
"Ethan was really focused on what he had to do, thought about what he needed to do to get ahead and just executed," said Kincaid. "Minek was very smart, strong and tactical. He thought about what he needed to do to get things accomplished."
Travis Memmelaar collected Southern Wayne's final gold medal during the five-hour event. Four days earlier, Aycock's Mario Darby executed a perfect cradle and pinned Memmelaar in the opening period.
The rematch lasted a little longer with Memmelaar pinning Darby late in the second period.
"Travis has been working hard all year and hasn't been able to catch a break," said Kincaid. "He came back in (today), knew what he had to do and put the kid down. Travis was a total surprise. We were proud of him and he was very excited, too."
Jacob Richards and Jamison Dove ended up second at 140 and 145 pounds, respectively. Bumbi Le competed in the 171-pound weight class.