02/22/10 — Spring Creek's Richter has history-making day

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Spring Creek's Richter has history-making day

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 22, 2010 1:46 PM

Wrestling an opponent for the fourth time this season, Daniel Richter tightened his headgear and told himself to "wrestle your best" as he stepped onto the wrestling mat Saturday evening.

Once he shook hands with nemesis Zach Behrend to start the match, the Spring Creek senior quickly settled down. Richter wrestled his pace and upended Behrend 9-3 to capture the 119-pound championship in the 2010 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A eastern individual wrestling tournament Saturday evening.

Richter (32-1 overall) emerged just the second regional champion in program history. Wes Denham won the 215-pound east crown in 2006 and finished state runner-up that season.

"That feels awesome," said Richter of his feat. "The competition was a little easier, but was still real tough. I just had to wrestle good, be smart and not give up any points. (Just) had to wrestle how I have been practicing all year."

Overall, eight grapplers from schools in the News-Argus readership area punched a ticket to the NCHSAA Championships later this week at the Greensboro Coliseum. First-round matches in the double-elimination event begin Friday morning.

Behrend, who placed third statewide last season, advanced along with Rosewood teammates Nick Quillen (112 pounds), Josh Pipkin (152) and Cameron Lane (215). Quillen was the runner-up in his weight class, while Pipkin and Lane each finished fourth.

Princeton's B.J. Creech placed fourth at 145 pounds.

Two Charles B. Aycock competitors advanced from the 3-A east regional, which was contested at South Central High School. Seniors Justin Farrell and Jon Rudolph seized second place at 119 and 189 pounds, respectively.

The No. 1 seed in his division, Richter started his gold-medal run with back-to-back pins over Chatham Central's Ruben Erazo and East Carteret's Ryan Eubanks. He knocked off Dixon's Chase Ponsock, 10-6, in the semifinals, which set up another rematch with the second-seeded Behrend.

The 5-foot-8 Richter recorded back (nearfall) points in each of the first two periods, which helped calm his nerves. Using his slight height advantage, he controlled the final period against the shorter Behrend.

"That was the first match I've ever gotten back points off him," said Richter. "I knew I could beat him. I just had to wrestle my best. I think I wrestled good all the way through the tournament ... some of the best wrestling I've done all year.

"I didn't really give up any points, just wrestled strong."

Richter extended his win streak to 29 matches.

"(Richter) is a very a good wrestler and really a polar opposite than Zach," said Rosewood coach Bill Edmundson. "(Overall) we won some tight matches in the final few seconds and we lost matches with less than five seconds on the clock. That's the way wrestling goes in the postseason."

Farrell entered the regional seeded No. 1.

The Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference wrestler-of-the-year, he started his runner-up effort with consecutive falls over South Johnston's Seth Mercer and South Central's Otis Brinkley. Farrell slipped past White Oak's Dylan Bernier, 1-0, in the semifinals.

Havelock's Christian Holleman stopped Farrell 6-1 in the title match.

Rudolph, who transferred from Rosewood during the offseason, began his day with a first-period fall over South Brunswick's Tre Parker. Rudolph defeated White Oak's Dennis Miller 10-6 and nipped Northern Nash's Denzel Perry 5-4 to reach the championship bout.

Currituck's Seth Brinkley seized controlled from the opening whistle, and secured the regional crown with a 21-6 technical fall over Rudolph.