Published: Feb 05, 2011 09:04 PM
Modified: Feb 05, 2011 09:48 PM
SANFORD - For most of the past two decades, there was nothing shocking about Cary winning the conference tournament in wrestling. On Saturday, it stunned the crowd that awaited the results of the Tri-Nine Conference tournament at Lee County High School.
With Holly Springs leading the tournament entering the final rounds and having three of its wrestlers walk away with individual Tri-Nine championships, it seemed as though the Golden Hawks were in good shape.
Instead, Cary got just enough points from its four champions to edge Holly Springs 159-157.
After Wednesday's dual-team loss to Panther Creek ended three different winning streaks that had lasted anywhere from 20 to 29 years including 28 straight conference championships it was a relief for the Imps that they didn't surrender their stranglehold on the conference tournament.
"I thought we were going to end up second and then they called Holly Springs second. It's a good feeling. From Wednesday to today, I think the guys needed it," first-year Cary coach Taylor Cummings said. "We're on the right track and we're starting to hit our stride in the right time of the year."
Cary maneuvered some of its wrestlers around in order to maximize points, including moving Ben Creed up a weight class to 140-pounds, where he won an individual title.
"It was kind of a big risk putting me up at 140 and Jacob [Brotzman] at 135 and [Ben] Coleman at 130 but we all wrestled tough," Creed said. "We've got to keep it up till the end of the season."
Eight different teams were represented as champions in the 14 weight classes.
Two wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the state, Dan Mitchell of Apex at 135 pounds and John Sparks of Green Hope at 112 pounds, kept their unblemished records intact.
Cary's Boomer Boyd defeated Panther Creek's Ben Elliott in a match-up of two of the state's top three 4-A 125 pounders.
Panther Creek senior Joe Morrision, an Appalachian State recruit, was named the conference's Most Outstanding Wrestler. He won the title at 130 pounds, but said he's more focused on how he does in states.
"Everything up to now is nothing," Morrison said. "If you win all these matches and don't do anything at states, it means nothing."
Holly Springs' three conference champs, Jacob Salzer (103-pounds), Jacob Baum (189) and Chris Sauls (heavyweight) are all underclassmen.
"To be in that position was pretty impressive. We won a lot of upsets in the semis and got seven in the finals," first-year coach Brandon Inge said. "It almost feels like a letdown, I know. But tomorrow I'll look back and say 'Gosh, as young as we are, and missing Jeff [Cramer] at 145 [pounds], we did a heck of a job today."
Middle Creek's Alex Bataglia won the 119-pound class, while Fuquay-Varina's Jarrod Miller won at 145 pounds. Myles Quimby won the 215-pound championship for Athens Drive, while Panther Creek's David Grissom did the same at 160.
Cary's other champions were Bo Mulligan (152) and Hunter Hobson (171).
Panther Creek finished third with 157 team points.