01/07/13 — 13th Falcon Invitational

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13th Falcon Invitational

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 7, 2013 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Marc Peck should head to Vegas.

Just 24 hours before the 13th installment of the Falcon Invitational, the sixth-year Charles B. Aycock head wrestling coach candidly -- and correctly -- predicted the top three team finishers.

Little did he know his foresight would prove true late Saturday evening.

Perennial power North Pitt seized its first-ever Falcon crown with a 202-184 triumph over two-time defending Big East 3-A champion Rocky Mount. The injury-riddled and short-handed Golden Falcons took third with 130 pounds.

Wilson Fike and Bunn rounded out the top five with 112.5 and 110 points, respectively.

"This has been a year of great setbacks thus far," Peck said. "Injury and skin issues have hit us like never before and yet our young men were able to achieve a respectable third place in the team score."

Aycock's Zack Howard and Khaleil Owens each protected their No. 1 seed at their respective weight class, and each earned a gold medal. Jordan Bailey (120 pounds) and Daniel Romo (132) each placed second, while teammate Ryan Morton took third at 182 pounds.

"Zack and Khaleil continue to improve and set the example of success for our team," Peck said. "We have a week to get healthy before our toughest dual competition of the year thus far."

The Golden Falcons (18-3 overall) travel to Southern Nash for the annual Firebird Duals on Saturday.

Eastern Wayne, which battled without three starters including gold-medal favorite Quadrick Williams, took ninth overall in the 13-team affair. Junior Jamal Barrett emerged the Warriors' lone medalist with a runner-up effort at 195 pounds.

A junior, Barrett drew an opening-round bye and pinned two opponents before falling to North Johnston's Hunter Stephenson in the championship match. Barrett is 15-6 overall this season.

"Jamal had a very strong performance and was aggressive all day," Eastern Wayne assistant coach Bruce Gates said. "It was a good tournament coming back from the long holiday that we had off. I would have liked to have had a couple of first-place winners, but it is what it is.

"They all gave me a good effort and it was a good learning experience for the JV wrestlers (Aaron Farmer and Tyquan Collie)."

Collie picked up his first win of the season with a third-period pin over Southern Wayne's Aaron Ashford in opening-round action.

The Saints placed 11th with 48 team points.

Deonta Hayes captured runner-up accolades at heavyweight, while teammate Chris Brinson took fourth at 182 pounds.

North Pitt had three individual champions and an Invitational-high nine medalists overall. The Panthers, who have won five of the last six Eastern Plains 2-A Conference titles, are the sixth different squad to grab the Falcon Invitational crown.

Rocky Mount, which won the Falcon a year ago, also had three individual champs and eight medalists total.

Every No. 1 seed emerged an individual champion for the first time in Falcon Invitational history.