Rosewood's Behrend is a state runner-up
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 1, 2010 1:50 PM
GREENSBORO -- A one-step progression.
Zach Behrend wrestled behind record-setting senior Olivia Neal as a freshman. He saw limited mat time that season, but knew he'd get his chance.
One year later and 13 pounds heavier, Behrend stormed onto the wrestling scene with a third-place finish at 103 pounds in the season-ending N.C. High School Athletic Association Classes 1-A/2-A individual championships.
Behrend rose on spot this season.
He completed his junior campaign with a runner-up effort at 119 pounds in the inaugural NCHSAA 1-A individual tournament this weekend at the Greensboro Coliseum. Behrend became the fourth state runner-up in Rosewood program history behind Joshua Holmes (2009), Ramsey Brown and heavyweight Bob Cooke (2001).
"My goal for this year was to step up from last year and do better, which I was able to accomplish that," said Behrend. "I would like to have come up with a win."
Behrend opened the tournament with a 5-3 decision over Mitchell's Colt McKinney. He followed that up with a 4-0 conquest of Avery's Brock Yancey, which wasn't decided until Behrend scored two critical back points in the closing seconds.
"I just held on and tried not to let anything crazy happen," said Behrend.
J.J. LaPlante dashed Behrend's dreams of emerging Rosewood's first-ever state champion and the 27th overall in Wayne County history. The West Wilkes sophomore gained control early and cruised to a 16-1 technical fall.
It was Behrend's only tech fall defeat of the season.
"J.J. just really came in to wrestle," said Behrend. "He shot in, tried to put in a headlock and threw me on my back real quick. He got four points and from there, he just took over. I fought off my back hard a couple of times, but it all happened so fast."
Behrend concluded the year 44-9 overall and is within striking distance of joining the Eagles' Century Club (100 career wins).
"I feel like this year was good," said Behrend. "I bumped from 103 (pounds) all the way to 119 and spent part of the season at 125. I'm not exactly the strongest kid and I definitely wrestled some stronger kids, which was good for me getting experience against some bigger kids.
"Coach Ed has always believed in me since I was in the eighth grade. He was an inspiration for me to wrestle and keep on with it, and after last year's season, I'm in love with wrestling."
With another step left to take.
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