Rosewood sending 9 state qualifiers to Greensboro
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 17, 2014 1:48 PM
Rosewood couldn't have experienced a better weekend during the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A eastern regional wrestling championships.
The Eagles had two regional champs and eight top-three placers, they matched a school record for state qualifiers (nine) and emerged as the runners-up in the team competition.
"If the season were to end today, I couldn't be more proud of this team and their accomplishments," said an exhausted Bill Edmundson, Rosewood's head coach who also served as the regional's tournament director.
"The truly exciting fact in all of this is of the nine state qualifiers, there is not one senior on the list."
Rosewood last sent nine state qualifiers to the NCHSAA state tournament in 1997. That group did not produce a top-three finisher in any weight class.
One year after suffering a season-ending, heart-breaking defeat in the regionals, Joshua Drew bounced back in dramatic fashion. The top seed at 170 pounds, he won a two-point decision over Pamlico's Connor Hough in the semifinals.
Drew edged second-seeded Matt Chilton 10-8 in the finals.
"This year, Drew was determined to make it," Edmundson said. "From his feet, few wrestlers can compete with him. We have high hopes for Josh at the state tournament."
Kaleb Smith upended third-seeded Jesse Tomljenovich from Princeton, 2-1, in the title bout at 160. Tomljenovich also clinched his first-ever trip to the state tournament with the runner-up finish.
The Eagles' silver medalists were Malique Boyd (113 pounds), first-year competitor Garner Beasley (195) and Rayquon Jones (220). Teammates Sam Drew (132), Trevor Thompson (152) and heavyweight Kaleb Taylor each placed third.
Evan Reiss took fourth at 145 pounds.
"Garner has really come on strong towards the end of the season," Edmundson said. "(He) picks up on instructions, makes corrections and learns from his mistakes.
"Evan is wrestling the best matches of his career in the postseason this year. He's fantastic at capitalizing on his opponents' mistakes flaws in their technique."
Joining Tomljenovich will be teammate Michael Daughtry, who ended up fourth at 126 pounds. Daughtry worked his way through the consolation rounds after falling to eventual regional champ James Dagget in the semifinals.
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