02/12/10 — Rosewood grapplers working toward achieving 2010 goals

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Rosewood grapplers working toward achieving 2010 goals

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 12, 2010 12:05 PM

Lofty preseason goals undoubtedly kept Rosewood focused throughout its 2009-2010 campaign on the wrestling mat.

Concerned at first with his team's expectations, even veteran coach Bill Edmundson dropped into a relaxed mode about a month into the season.

"I knew early in the preseason that we had the potential to be a very competitive dual team (this year)," said Edmundson, who has 363 career victories in 15 seasons. "We lost a couple of talented wrestlers to transfers and other obligations that would have made us much more solid, but you have to go with the personnel you have and the ones dedicated to the sport."

The Eagles craved to reclaim their supremacy in regular-season and conference tournament competition, desired to wrestle on the final day of the state dual-team playoffs and wanted to send numerous participants to the individual regionals.

They can check off three of those goals.

Rosewood emerged the Carolina/Four Rivers regular-season and tournament champion, and advanced to the eastern regional final in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A dual-team playoffs. The Eagles (30-7 overall) travel to West Montgomery (11-8) on Saturday. The winner opposes Robbinsville or West Wilkes for the state crown later in the afternoon.

Edmundson is taking his fourth team to a regional championship. Rosewood lost to East Davidson in 1996, and suffered back-to-back defeats against South Davidson in 2002 and 2003.

"Seeing the individuals who make up this sacrifice and do things in the best interest of the team has pleased me more than anything," said Edmundson, who has an all-time playoff record of 12-14. "Watching this team come together and act as one cohesive unti along with personal sacrifices is something these young men can apply to any situation in life."

Ten returning starters, including seven regional qualifiers, have been the backbone of the team this season. Zach Behrend, the Eagles' lone state placer a year ago, has shown strong leadership along with fellow lettermen Chris Lane, Scott Pate, Tyler Dean, Greg Cavenaugh, Josh Pipkin, Jacob Roberts, Jamie Wooten, Taylor McGill and Cameron Lane.

Freshmen Angel Jaramillo, Jacob Guthrie, Nick Quillen and Will Sawrey have produced quality wins in critical dual situations.

But Rosewood's success runs much deeper than the wrestlers who appeared on the mat in dual-team or individual competition this winter. Edmundson's assistants, Hal Kilpatrick and Chris Gambino, supplied countless hours in practice sessions. Kilpatrick helped Edmundson strategize on match day, while the wrestlers absorbed advanced techniques as they rolled around on the mat with Gambino.

"I don't know what we did to deserve him, but Chris has been the catalyst of the success of this season," said Edmundson. "The guys respect him, trust what he's teaching them, and we are very fortunate that Chris chose Rosewood as a wrestling home."

Quillen and Guthrie are "graduates" of the Little Eagle Wrestling Club, which is co-directed by Rosewood alums Stuart Kornegay and Chris Hare. Quillen (112 pounds) is one of six Eagle grapplers to record 30-plus individual wins this season.

Edmundson reconstructed his schedule to include more dual matches and less individual tournaments this season. The plan allowed everyone in the lineup to get considerable mat experience, and it also gave Edmundson and Kilpatrick a chance to work on their coaching schemes.

"(Hal) puts more thought into strategy and crunching statistics than I have ever thought about," said Edmundson.

However, there is one statistic Edmundson wants to change.

Rosewood has never won a state championship in any sport.

"This team has the potential to change all of that," said Edmundson.

And turn one more lofty goal into reality.