02/20/12 — Aycock's Romo, Owens headed to state meet

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Aycock's Romo, Owens headed to state meet

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

ROCKY MOUNT -- Daniel Romo and Khaleil Owens have one more week of practice in a sweltering wrestling room, but the Charles B. Aycock teammates certainly won't mind the discomfort.

They're headed to the season-ending N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A individual wrestling championships in Greensboro.

Owens claimed the silver medal at 152 pounds, while Romo battled through the consolation bracket to place fourth at 132 pounds.

"It was a valuable experience for our nine returning juniors, two of which qualified (for states)," said CBA head coach Marc Peck. "We were disappointed for our seniors who have contributed so much to the development of our young wrestlers and have had great careers to fall short in their qualifying match."

Owens, the No. 2 seed, opened regional action with a 16-4 thrashing of Cleveland's Alex Pilkington. He easily handled Northern Nash's Joe Cooper, 12-4, and nipped West Brunswick's Jason Huff, 7-5, in semifinal-round play.

South Brunswick's John Wiley denied Owen's gold-medal hopes with a second-period fall.

"There was a lot of great competition there," said Romo. "It was awesome and pretty fun to wrestle in. There were no 'gimmes.' I had to work for it."

Romo entered the regional as the No. 1 seed and scored a first-period fall over Wilson Fike's John Taylor in their opening-round match. South Brunswick's Josh Wiley, the No. 9 seed, upended Romo 4-1 and knocked him into the consolation bracket.

"It took a little bit (of work) to wrestle back," said Romo.

Romo started his comeback with a second-period fall over Southern Nash's Josh Poland, and followed that up with a third-period fall over Northern Nash's Kendall Hamilton.

Wiley waited in the next round with the bronze medal on the line.

In their previous two meetings, Wiley got the upper hand and rode Romo's legs, which made it nearly impossible for the Golden Falcon grappler to work any move from the bottom. Romo seized a 3-1 lead this time, but made one mental mistake and Wiley pinned him with seven seconds left in the match.

"It was a trying match," said Romo. "Going through the whole day, you get worn down. He's a good wrestler. He out-wrestled me and I will get him the next time.

"The good thing about the weekend was the competition I had to go through to get to states. I think that has helped prepare me for the competition will see at states."

It was the final weekend of competition for four Wayne County seniors -- David Romo and Preston Tucker from Aycock; and Austin Helm and Blake Terrell from Eastern Wayne.

"We are optimistic about both Daniel and Khaleil's chances to place, and even win a state title in their respective weight classes," said Peck. "Both have worked hard and are technically sound wrestlers."