02/14/14 — East regional wrestling: Goldsboro's Thigpen pleased with his four grapplers

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East regional wrestling: Goldsboro's Thigpen pleased with his four grapplers

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 14, 2014 1:49 PM

Perennial powerhouse Rosewood is the host school for the 1-A regional, which was moved to Saturday and Sunday through permission from the Association. Rocky Mount will operate the 3-A regional on the same days.

Goldsboro, North Lenoir and Greene Central are headed to the 2-A regional, which begins this evening at Farmville Central.

It's been nearly a month since teams have stepped onto the mat for actual live wrestling. The recent inclement weather canceled some season-ending individual conference tournaments and schools lost valuable practice time as well.

The Cougars, directed by first-year head coach Chris Thigpen, had four regional qualifiers. Seniors Nicholas Wiley (152 pounds) and Deverntay Carmichael (145) are joined by freshman D'Qurious Bradford and sophomore Jharron Flanagan.

Bradford is the No. 2 seed at 113 pounds.

"He has battled some home issues that we're working through now," Thigpen said. "He's starting to get on the right track and he's one of our hardest-working kids. It's a good thing to make the regionals as a freshman.

"Hopefully, he will wrestle like we've trained him to go out and go hard."

Thigpen started the season with 10 wrestlers and said they weeded themselves out due to the discipline required for the demanding sport. He said the quartet has shown improvement in technique and conditioning throughout the season.

"All season long we've been working with them on basic technique and a lot of hard conditioning," Thigpen said. "They're hard-working kids. I have stepped in and tried to be a 'school father' to these guys, helping keep things going smooth for them and being a good role model.

"We've reminded them to just do what we've coached them to do all season long, wrestle smart, wrestle hard and keep your heads up at all times on and off the mat."

North Lenoir disbanded its wrestling program 18 years ago.

First-year head coach Scott Cline guided the Hawks to an appearance in the dual-team playoffs and has 11 qualifiers seeded among the top 16 in their respective weight classes.

Charles B. Aycock is carrying nine wrestlers to Rocky Mount.

Junior Jacob Dickenson is the highest-seeded Golden Falcon at No. 4 in the 126-pound division. Teammates Zack Howard (120) and Josh Wallace (152) are seeded fifth, while senior Ryan Morton is seeded sixth at 182 pounds.

Also representing CBA are Tyler Marquard (106), Chris Parks (113), Jaret Paynter (160), Chris Barbour (195) and heavyweight Matt Teachey. Randy Floars qualified at 220 pounds, but cannot compete due to an injury.

"With a team rebuilding, we had a great year," Golden Falcons head coach RJ Allen said. "(I'm) very pleased with each wrestler for giving it all they had every day. I learned a lot as a coach and we learned a lot as a maturing team.

"(We're) looking forward to this week and next watching our young men give it their all."

Eastern Wayne qualified nine wrestlers. Senior Quadrick Williams is the No. 2 seed at 160 pounds. Teammate Jamal Barrett is the No. 3 seed at 195 pounds, while Rashaun Pridgen is the No. 4 seed at 220 pounds.

Rosewood and Princeton have a combined 22 wrestlers in the 1-A regional. The Eagles' Samuel Drew, Joshua Drew, Kaleb Smith, Dylan Melgar and Rayquon Jones each drew an opening-round bye.

According to Association records, there have been 127 regional champions in Wayne County history since 1961. Goldsboro has the most with 58, followed by Southern Wayne with 23.