Published: Feb 10, 2012 02:22 PM
Modified: Feb 10, 2012 11:38 PM
CARY - It was hard for second-year Cary wrestling coach Taylor Cummings to come to terms with his teams performance.
So much of this season had been spent focusing on the positives. After several long-standing streaks were snapped a year ago, Cary entered the 4A East semifinals Thursday with a perfect 26-0 record. The talk was no longer about what was coming to an end, but what was beginning.
But Cary fell flat and appeared flat at times in its 29-24 loss to Fayetteville Jack Britt on Thursday.
We just didnt rise to the occasion. We didnt wrestle smart matches, Cummings said. We had guys not wrestle to their ability. I dont know if it was the pressure, but thats no excuse because half of these kids have been here before.
Britt went up 11-0 after the first three bouts, before Carys Carlos Alverez took a 4-0 win in the 120-pound class. Carys Ryan Foran was pinned 3:47 into the next match, increasing Britts lead to 17-3. But the Imps still had plenty of reason to hope.
After 132-pounder Alex Ynoquio won 11-9 to cut the match deficit to 17-6, four of Carys top wrestlers were bunched together in a series of the next five bouts. The Imps won two of the next three bouts, with senior 138-pounder John Blackwell prevailing 6-2, freshman 145-pounder Mark Mulligan losing 7-2 and senior 145-pounder Adam Kugler getting a potential momentum-changing pin just 64 seconds into his bout.
Senior Steven Amaya, just 5-5 this season, came up big for the Imps with a 3-1 decision in the 160-pound class. Cary was down just 20-18 with senior Bo Mulligan up next.
The elder Mulligan brother boasted a 43-1 record entering the day but fell behind 8-1 and lost, 10-8.
Everyones had those matches where you know you shouldve beaten that kid, but you just cant get it going the whole match, Cummings said. I cant get mad at Bo for that. Ive been in the same position as he is in college and in high school.
Cary needed to win at least two of the final three bouts to erase a 23-18 lead.
The Imps Franklin McNamara lost 4-0 in the 182-pound class, but 195-pounder Travis Bach held a 6-3 lead with just 30 seconds to go.
But in those final moments, Bach gave up a takedown and three back points, causing him to lose 8-6 and allowing Britt to clinch the match. With the 4A East final appearance clinched, Britt forfeited the final bout.
It was an improvement from last year, when the 19-time state champion Imps were knocked out of the first round for the first time in school history.
You inherit a program like Cary and you see all those banners on the wall behind you making it to the quarterfinals and the semifinals isnt the goal, Cummings said. They know that, the alumni know that and the community knows that.
Britt (22-4) faced Southern Pines Pinecrest in the nights 4A East final. Pinecrest, which defeated New Bern handily in the semifinals though late forfeits made the score 34-32 dismissed Britt 34-27.
The only other Tri-Nine team to make the postseason was Holly Springs. The Golden Hawks (28-3) traveled to Southern Pines on Tuesday and fell 38-33 in the first round to Hope Mills South View.