FAYETTEVILLE — The Cary wrestling team was going to need a near-perfect performance to unseat reigning 4A East champion Fayetteville Jack Britt in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association wrestling playoffs on Tuesday.
That, and no injuries. But Cary was without banged-up Will Clark and Ke Wang, two of its top wrestlers.
That wasn’t going to be enough to beat Jack Britt. The Imps fell 50-17. Cary (15-2) had won its first-round match earlier in the night, 52-21 against New Bern.
“We had to throw everything at them to be in it. They’re solid at every weight,” Cary coach Taylor Cummings said. “They might have had one – if you even want to call it that – hole (in the lineup).”
The Imps who won on Tuesday were nearly flawless in their wins. They were: Kollin Wade (138 pounds, 8-2) Mark Mulligan (160, 11-2), Alex Zuniga (170, 4-0), Nick Tarvin (113, 4-3) and Parker Ragsdale (126, 9-1).
Cummings was also pleased with Rod Perry, who in just his fifth match of the year lost 5-3 at 220 pounds.
“Unfortunately we lost, but that’s the way it was looking anyway. It’s good as a coach to see uplifting performances,” Cummings said. “It’s a long season. At some point in the season, every wrestler goes through a funk. We’re getting to the point of the season where guys have come out of that and they’re better than they were before they went into it.”
Tarvin’s came against an undefeated Buccaneers wrestler.
“He wrestled the match of the year so far,” Cummings said.
Clark, who is 41-1 on the year, and Wang, 34-14, were both nicked up from practice entering the week but should be fully healthy for individual regionals next weekend. With some of the heavier weights still young, the Imps are a better tournament team, said Cummings.
Cary won six tournaments this year, and two of them were impromptu appearances after dual tournament events were canceled, which is why the Imps wrestled only 17 matches.
The Imps forfeited three weight classes in the loss. Britt had defeated Hoke County 70-6 earlier in the night.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps