Rosewood junior claims 120-pound Class 1-A state title
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 27, 2012 1:48 PM
By RUDY COGGINS
News-Argus Sports Editor
GREENSBORO -- The final two minutes of this wrestling season will undoubtedly be the most memorable for Nick Quillen.
That's all the time he needed to achieve perfection and become the first-ever state champion in Rosewood's illustrious wrestling history on Saturday evening.
Quillen pinned Southwest Onslow's Joby Armenta late in the first period and seized the 120-pound state title during the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A individual wrestling championships contested at the Greensboro Sports Complex.
A junior, Quillen compiled a spotless 61-0 record.
"It's amazing," said Quillen.
The long-awaited victory was 12 months in the making.
A season-ending defeat against West Wilkes' Jorge Lima in last year's 119-pound state final fueled Quillen's hunger for that coveted gold medal this winter. Periodic workouts against former teammate Zach Behrend made Quillen stronger and more agile that proved beneficial against grapplers in his weight class.
"(Losing to Lima) made me want to come back and win the tournament this year," said Quillen. "Coach (Bill) Edmundson showed me what I needed to work on. I had to drill a lot more, get everything precise, quick, on point ... make everything perfect if I wanted to come out on top.
"I knew I was going to have some tough matches (at states) and I had to train hard. Zach practiced with me, pushed me and helped me get through this season. (His size) helped me with the weight and when I wrestled people my size, I knew if I could work moves on Zach, I could work them on people my weight."
A three-time state qualifier, Quillen started his championship run against Robbinsville sophomore Kade Guffey on Friday afternoon. Guffey secured the early takedown, but Quillen responded with a reversal and eventually scored a second-period pin.
Quillen notched the initial takedown against Chatham Central sophomore Chris Jaeger during their semifinal-round match. Jaeger evened the bout at 2-all with a reversal, but Quillen -- again -- answered with a reversal and back points.
He pinned Jaeger in the second period.
With 60 wins under his belt and a state title once again in his sights, Quillen met Armenta in the finals. It was a rematch of the eastern championship match won by Quillen seven days earlier.
"I had a tough match with him the week before," said Quillen. "I had to come out strong. We were actually standing for most of the first period. When the takedown occurred, he actually got in a deep shot on me and I threw the wizzer in ... as hard as I could and flipped him on his back.
"Once the ref hit the mat, words can't really describe it. I didn't know what to do. Coach Ed deserves it. He's pushed everybody so hard, trained them to the limits and it's about time he's got a state champion. He's a good coach."
Quillen pinned 13 of the final 14 opponents he faced this season and recorded 54 pins for the year. He is the fourth individual state champion in Rosewood athletics history, according to a banner hanging in the school's gymnasium. He joins Jamie Hollingsworth, Jessica Hietpas and Bob Cooke -- who combined to win four state titles in track and field. Hietpas was a two-time state champion.