12/10/10 — Wrestlers set for Eagle Invitational

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Wrestlers set for Eagle Invitational

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 10, 2010 1:47 PM

Five conference team champions.

One state runner-up team.

Six 2010 dual-team state qualifiers.

More than 200 wrestlers.

Put all those aforementioned facts together and you have a "capsule" view of the 15th annual Eagle Invitational, one of eastern North Carolina's longest-running individual wrestling tournaments. Opening-round action begins at 9:15 on Saturday morning on four mats inside the Rosewood High gymnasium.

An all-day pass is $10.

"We are excited to host one of the largest one-day tournaments in the state," said Rosewood coach Bill Edmundson, whose team finished the 1-A dual-team runner-up earlier this year. "We have 21 teams coming from Charlotte to Beaufort, 1-A- to 4-A-sized schools. This should be a very competitive tournament featuring several returning state champions and state qualifiers.

"Millbrook, Central Academy and White Oak will have solid lineups top to bottom, and will be favorites to win the tournament."

Millbrook is led by senior Lamaine Camara (145 pounds) and junior Brandon Harris (130), who are each unbeaten in nine outings this season. Seniors Will Burton (140) and Daymon Hughes (152) each have eight victories. The Wildcats were the 2009 Eagle Invitational runner-up to Pine Forest, which will not return to defend its title.

Central Academy won the Redhawk Invitational team championship and has put a balanced team on the mat this season. White Oak, a perennial 3-A powerhouse, has three wrestlers with eight wins -- senior Dennis Miller (171), sophomore Jake Prather (130) and sophomore 103-pounder Tevin Shaw.

The Vikings tied with West Craven for fourth place at the Eagle a year ago.

Rosewood, the reigning Carolina/4 Rivers champion, has recorded top-seven efforts in each of the past three Eagle Invitationals. Edmundson returns three state qualifiers, including Zach Behrend, who was the state runner-up at 125 pounds. Also expected to medal are Chris Lane (112), 119-pounder Nick Quillen and 160-pounder Josh Pipkin. Pipkin is 10-0 this season.

"Chris, Nick, Zach and Josh will have to wrestle the best matches of their careers to win individual championships," said Edmundson.

Defending Eastern Carolina 3-A champ Aycock, which won the Eagle Invitational in 2007, has four grapplers with nine individual wins this season -- senior 140-pounder Zeb Darden, sophomore Khaleil Owens, sophomore Daniel Romo and junior 145-pounder Preston Tucker.

Returning starter David Romo (125) has eight wins. Sophomore Nick Jones and senior 215-pounder Travion Lewis have emerged victorious on seven occasions. Each matman competed well in a tri-meet Wednesday contested at Southern Nash.

Ethan Brogden hasn't experienced defeat in six outings this season for Southern Wayne. The senior 171-pounder is one of several returning starters for the Saints, who are directed by head coach Brian Smiley.

Eastern Wayne finished sixth as a team in the Crescent State Bank Scramble, which was hosted by Green Hope. The Warriors' James Barrett is 9-0 at 215 pounds, while teammates Austin Helm (145), Nolan Kirkwood (140) and heavyweight Blake Terrell have eight wins apiece.