01/07/11 — Falcon Invitational preview

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Falcon Invitational preview

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 7, 2011 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Turning the corner with a better performance in mind.

Second-year Charles B. Aycock head wrestling coach Marc Peck hopes his team carries that attitude into the Falcon Invitational, scheduled for Saturday on the Golden Falcons' mats.

The 11th installment of the 16-team event begins at 9:30 a.m. with opening-round matches in 14 weight classes. Admission is $8 for the day-long competition, which is the second longest-running individual championship tournament in Wayne County.

"This year's invitational will be a great test for our young men," said Peck. "Our first- and second-year wrestlers have gained a lot of experience this year thus far. I expect a better performance than that of the Eagle Invitational earlier this season.

"We are looking to turn the corner with the return of Jarrod James at heavyweight and Charlie Mills (132 pounds) to the mat."

James, who has signed to play football at North Carolina, participated in the prestigious Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in mid-December. He competed in the O-D All-America Bowl on New Year's Eve day in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Mills won six matches before sustaining an injury.

The Golden Falcons have five wrestlers with 20 or more wins -- sophomore Nick Jones, sophomore Khaleil Owens, sophomore Daniel Romo, junior David Romo and junior Preston Tucker. Aaron Pate and Zeb Darden have 19 wins apiece.

"Nick has exceeded expectations this year and set the bar high for our young wrestlers," said Peck. "Daniel and Khaleil have been reliable in our duals and are ready for a medal round. David is poised for a run at the states and should do well this weekend."

The door is open for a new team champion since Rosewood will not return to defend its title. The Eagles are participating in the Carolina/4 Rivers 1-A Conference Duals at Ayden-Grifton.

Aycock hasn't won the Falcon Invitational since 2007.

"As a coaching staff, we feel we have underachieved with a 13-8 overall (dual-team) record, however, we are extremely pleased to have five wrestlers with 20 wins and two with 19 at this point in the season," said Peck. "This is why we are extremely optimistic for the second half of the season."