CARY — In the words of Cary wrestling coach Taylor Cummings, they are the “Four Horsemen of the lower and middle lineup.”
On Saturday, they led Cary to the team title in the Mark Adams Holiday Classic that the Imps host in their gym.
All four wrestlers claimed gold medals as Cary made up a 4.5-point deficit to Wilmington Laney entering the finals to win with 209 points to Laney’s 201.5. Sanderson was third in the 19-team event with 186 points.
“The bigger the stage, the better they perform,” Cummings said. “We needed those wins, and we can always count on them.”
They are senior 126-pounder Parker Ragsdale, sophomore 132-pounder Kollin Wade, junior 138-pounder Will Clark and junior 160-pounder Mark Mulligan.
The title marked the first time Cary won the Adams tournament under Cummings, the fourth-year coach and former N.C. State wrestler who replaced the legendary Jerry Winterton in the 2010-11 season.
In all, Cary had five wrestlers in the finals. Ragsdale’s 126-pound bout was the first of three in successive weight classes, meaning Cummings didn’t have to get up from his coach’s chair on the corner of the mat through three straight wins.
Ragsdale won with a pin in 4:35, Wade claimed a 10-2 decision at 132, and Clark rolled up an 18-6 victory at 138.
For Clark, it was his second straight Adams title, but he mentioned the importance of delivering a team title to Cummings. Now that Cummings is in his fourth year, there are no more wrestlers he inherited. Winterton still helps with the program, but Clark said Cummings has made his mark.
“I’m happy to be helping him continue the dynasty,” Clark said.
Mulligan’s 6-1 decision provided Cary with enough points at 209 to clinch the title, although more matches had to sort out before Cary could exhale. Mulligan said his goal is to make this a comeback season after a disappointing sophomore campaign. He failed to place in last year’s Adams tournament.
“I’ve stepped up my training this year,” he said.