Young Saints show maturity on the mat
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 7, 2013 1:47 PM
DUDLEY -- A subdued night.
Despite logging individual victories and avoiding a winless season in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play, Southern Wayne's wrestling team walked away disappointed during its regular-season finale Wednesday evening.
The Saints (10-25 overall, 1-4 ECC) rallied from a 24-point deficit to defeat South Johnston, 42-24. Perennial 3-A powerhouse Rocky Mount secured a come-from-behind, 36-33 decision with its "B" team in the nightcap.
"I'm pleased for the kids and coaches tonight because they were disappointed with some of their efforts where earlier in the year if this would have happened, they would have felt they won the Super Bowl and would have been celebrating in the hallway," SW interim coach Tom Crane said.
"The South Johnston match, some of the kids were disappointed with their effort and we're at the point now (in the season) where that's a good thing."
Southern Wayne won three of six contested individual bouts against South, and scored the initial takedown in four. The Trojans (1-10, 0-5) collected three pins, including two in the final period despite trailing in points.
Saints sophomore Noah Blackman posted a second-period pin at 113 pounds. Teammate Chase Horton logged the night's fastest pin, a 48-second fall at 132 pounds. Austin Williams needed 60 seconds to stick his opponent's shoulders to the mat at 138.
The Trojans yielded four forfeits.
Chris Brinson (182 pounds), Aaron Ashford (195) and junior heavyweight Deonta Hayes staked Southern Wayne to a 15-0 lead against Rocky Mount. Brinson pinned the Gryphons' Hunter Huffman in 18 seconds, while Ashford squeezed out a 9-7 decision.
Hayes drew his second forfeit of the night.
Rocky Mount, winner of three straight Big East 3-A crowns, reeled off 36 of the next 54 points. Jalen Jones claimed the Saints' lone individual win during the surge, while teammates Daquan Dickens and Okhanya Wallace each picked up a forfeit.
"The wins aside, their growth is what we've been excited about," Crane said. "There are so many young kids here who are starting to mature, so we're proud of them. We're looking (at tonight) as progress, getting mat time against quality opponents and getting better.
"We're just chipping away and taking baby steps."
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