01/20/12 — Cougars, Gators, Bulldogs grapple on mat

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Cougars, Gators, Bulldogs grapple on mat

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 20, 2012 1:48 PM

Tighten up the chinstrap and do what you do best on the mat.

Carolina 1-A Conference foes Goldsboro, Princeton and Spring Creek shared that same philosophy during a triangular (three-team) wrestling meet inside Norvell T. Lee Gymnasium on Thursday evening.

The Bulldogs emerged victorious over the Cougars (63-15) and Gators (70-9), who each competed short-handed on the night. Meanwhile, the Cougars turned back the Gators, 54-15.

But it was more about individual effort.

With the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional less than a month away, each coach stressed the importance of fine-tuning skills and building momentum.

Goldsboro's grapplers collected just four victories in 12 contested individual bouts combined against Spring Creek and Princeton. Kurtis Durham (145 pounds), Deverntay Carmichael (120) and Dijon Ward (132) each prevailed against the Dogs. Durham leads the team in individual wins (22), while Carmichael recorded the night's fastest pin -- a 19-second fall over Ryan Braswell.

Heavyweight Ricardo Exum claimed the Cougars' lone win over Spring Creek, a third-period fall against Anthony Henriquez.

"It's better to wrestle and have some fun than not wrestle at all," chuckled first-year Goldsboro head coach Jim Phillips. "These guys are trying the advanced and forgetting about the basics, but what we really need to do in practice is go back to the basics.

"We've got to get these guys in the state to take what is there, and keep the advantage when they have it. (Sometimes tonight) they gave up the advantage for a fancy move against someone that's not an inferior opponent."

One of three seniors on a six-man squad, Spring Creek's Corey Howell continued his late-season surge. The 132-pounder edged Princeton's Matt Woodward 4-1 and held off Goldsboro's Jamelle James, 10-8.

Howell has won eight of his last nine bouts and is 13-3 overall this season.

"Matt was real strong, hard to flip over and I think I might have had him beat experience-wise," said Howell. "(James) knew some stuff and was good with his tilts, but I guess I out-powered him. He's a real good guy and that was the closest match I've had all year.

"They were both good."

Spring Creek wrestled just six contested matches during the multi-team affair and posted a 3-3 worksheet. Henriques pinned the Dogs' Drake Carter with 10 seconds left in the first period.

"It's been hard to practice like we normally do, but I told them tonight we're going to be doing some conditioning because y'all have to get back in shape," said first-year SC head coach Frank Nelson. "What happened tonight can't keep happening or you're not going to make the regionals. (But) they always go out there and give 110 percent, so how can you be unhappy?

"They gave it their all."

Princeton senior Forrest Stewart (182 pounds) extended his single-season, school-record victory mark to 39 with a 12-2 major decision over the Gators' Carson Gramley, and a forfeit against Goldsboro. Rocky Mount's Janicento Williamson handed Stewart (39-1) his lone loss before Christmas break.

Teammates Dillon Pace (138), Jesse Tomljenovich (152), Blake Wagner (160), Cody Pope (220), Tyler Rose (106) and Martin Bayles (113) each logged a 2-0 worksheet on the night.

The Dogs rose to 17-16 overall.