By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 21, 2011 1:47 PM
A small contingent of competitors will represent Wayne County in the season-ending, N.C. High School Athletic Association wrestling state championships later this week.
Rosewood is taking five grapplers, including 1-A east regional champs Nick Quillen and Zach Behrend. Eastern Wayne has two representatives, while Charles B. Aycock has one.
The three-day event begins Thursday in Greensboro.
Quillen, who has 99 career victories, emerged the 119-pound champ with a 7-4 decision over second-seeded and defending state champion Daniel Hernandez of East Montgomery. Quillen avenged a loss to Hernandez in the 2010 regional final.
The top seed, Quillen drew an opening-round bye, and then logged back-to-back falls over Dixon's John Taylor and North Rowan's Gincarlo Solorzano to reach the title bout.
"Nick is at the top of his game," said Rosewood coach Bill Edmundson.
Behrend improved to 49-0 with an impressive run to the 125-pound crown. He recorded three pins and then secured an 18-3, technical fall over North Rowan's Tyler Powers in the final.
Taylor McGill finished runner-up at 189, while Angel Jaramillo (103 pounds) and Josh Pipkin (160) ended up fourth in their respective weight classes.
"Taylor was a surprise to a lot of people, but not to the team or coaching staff," said Edmundson. "He beat an outstanding opponent (in the semifinals) by simply wrestling, using fundamentals and not getting caught in the big throw."
In the 3-A east regional at South Central, the Warriors' James Barrett earned third-place honors at 215 pounds, while teammate Austin Helm placed fourth at 145.
The No. 3 seed, Barrett advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 decision over Nash Central's Jeffrey Person. Barrett dropped his next match, but battled through the consolation rounds and beat South Brunswick's Trent Allen for third place.
Helm reached the semifinals with victories over Fike's Alcindor Winstead and Southern Nash's Drew Coley. He fell into the consolation bracket and lost the third-place match to West Carteret's Chris Halstead.
"(We) showed that we have some good hope for the future," said Eastern Wayne head coach Jonathan Jones. "We will lose some good seniors this year, but we have a lot to look forward to (in the future). I am proud of the way the team represented us this weekend."
The Golden Falcons' Owens just missed seizing the gold medal at 152 pounds. He had Jacksonville's Wes Holbrook locked in a cradle and Holbrook asked for an injury timeout. When the match resumed, Holbrook pulled away for 14-3 decision.
Owens, the No. 6 seed, opened the regional with a second-period fall over Eastern Wayne's Quadrick Williams. He out-lasted Southern Wayne's Jamison Dove, 3-2, in the quarterfinals and upset top-seeded Germaine Jordan of Hertford County in the semifinals.
"Khaleil truly believed he could win," said Aycock coach Marc Peck.
Senior heavyweight Jarrod James came within one win of advancing to the state tournament. The remainder of the young team lost in the early stages of the consolation rounds.
"Jarrod did an excellent job," said Peck. "I think a little bit of youth and inexperience, at that kind of stage, played into it. I don't know if they felt the pressure or not. Maybe it was just overwhelming for some of them.
"Next year, I think the experience will really pay off."
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