12/10/12 — 17th Eagle Invitational: Quillen runs table, earns MOW honors

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17th Eagle Invitational: Quillen runs table, earns MOW honors

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 10, 2012 1:47 PM

The lone returning state champion in a bracket loaded with returning state qualifiers, Nick Quillen answered the challenge in dominating fashion Saturday afternoon.

Quillen ran the table in the 132-pound weight class, earned Most Outstanding Wrestler accolades and helped Rosewood place fifth overall in its annual Eagle Invitational.

The Eagles finished among the top seven for the sixth consecutive year.

"Our goal was a top-10 finish, but for us to finish fifth with only three placers was incredible," Rosewood head coach Bill Edmundson said. "We had so many guys in the consolation matches who kept winning, our points just continued to grow. I was extremely happy with our outcome today."

Holly Springs dethroned two-time defending team champion Raleigh Millbrook 230-152.5. The Triangle-area rivals combined for seven gold medalists during the day-long marathon which included eight teams that advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs last February.

Cleveland placed third, followed by Johnston County foe Corinth-Holders. High Point Central claimed sixth with 107 points. North Pitt (103 pounds), Charles B. Aycock (101.5), East Carteret (87) and J.H. Rose (70.5) completed the top 10.

Overall, eight wrestlers protected their respective No. 1 seeds. There were ties at eight weight classes in the consolation finals due to the five-match rule that prohibits a wrestler from competing in five individual bouts during a single day.

Quillen (12-0 overall) opened the Invitational with a 73-second fall over Princeton freshman James Gomez. He steam-rolled Rose's James Wagner 15-0 in quarterfinal-round action and advanced to the title match with a second-period fall over Aycock's Daniel Romo in the semifinals.

A senior, Quillen claimed his first individual crown of the season with a 41-second pin of Corinth-Holders' Cam Brewer in the finals. Quillen extended his school-record unbeaten match streak to 73.

"Nick is wrestling up a weight class to face the stronger, bigger guys and to meet the competition head on," Edmundson said. "He knows he has a target on his back this year."

Rosewood's Malique Boyd captured third at 106 pounds, while teammate Samuel Drew ended up fourth among 126-pounders. Matt Cruz (113 pounds), Josh Drew (160) and Kaleb Smith (170) each finished the day with three victories.

Heavyweight Kaleb Taylor and 152-pounder Evan Reiss each logged a 2-2 worksheet.

"Sam, Josh and Matt pushed their potential and won some very tough matches," Edmundson said. "Angel Jaramillo (120 pounds) wrestled up a weight class and was to get some tough opponents with heavier guys."

The Golden Falcons, who were seeking their fourth Invitational team championship since 2003, concluded the day with five medalists.

Zack Howard emerged the runner-up at 106 pounds and improved to 13-2 overall this season. Teammates Romo, Jordan Bailey (120), Jaquan Walker (152) and Khaleil Owens (160) each returned to Pikeville with a bronze medal.

"We are proud of Zack as he continues to enjoy the fruits of his labor," CBA head coach Marc Peck said. "This is a good indicator that he is on track for a run at the states. It was a good day for us overall as we put four wrestlers in the lineup to get some varsity experience while we nurse some injuries.

"There were a lot of quality wrestlers at this event and our goal is to get better each time out on the mat -- and that we did."

Eastern Wayne's Craig Smith (145) and Andre Smith (220) just missed advancing to the medal round. Each grappler posted a 3-2 record for the Warriors, who placed 14th as a team.

Senior Quadrick Williams and 113-pounder Cainen Miller won two matches apiece. Brice Heller (120), Aksel Stanton (182) and heavyweight Brian Wooten each won one individual bout.