Sam Ransdell was the first man on the mat when the finals started at the Boneyard Bash wrestling tournament at Jack Britt High School on Saturday.
When the referee raised the Patriot lightweight's hand six minutes later, he stood at the top of the heap, winning the 103-pound championship in a 10-5 decision over top-seed Brandon Leitz of Greenville Rose.
Ransdell gave up the first takedown in the title bout but quickly escaped, then forged a 6-2 lead in the second period that would carry him into the final period where he pushed the margin to the final 10-5 score.
Control was the key for Ransdell, who took Western Harnett's Phillip Boyd by fall and then won on points against Derrick Nowkirk of Seventy First (4-2) and A.J. Oliphant of Jack Britt (6-5) en route to the championship round.
Elated with the win, the Pinecrest junior kept the performance in perspective.
"It feels good to win because I've been working hard in practice," Ransdell said, "but I still see some things I need to work on to get ready for regionals and states."
Ransdell's record is now 34-7.
Glen Holmes took a hard slam in the 189-pound championship to win on an injury disqualification and give the Patriots a pair of champions in the two-day tourney.
Holmes pinned his way through the field to the finals, sweeping the preliminaries with falls against Arsenio Lett (Jack Britt), Joe Gorman (Seventy-First), and F. Elliot (Pine Forest). Holmes, 36-1 and ranked second in the NCMat.com Super 32 standings, used the clock sparingly, overpowering Lett and Gorman in the first periods and sticking Elliot 47 seconds into the third period.
The finals fell to the anticipated pairing of Holmes against Douglas Byrd's Keith Farrington, the No. 4 man in the Super 32. Farrington attacked at the whistle, slamming Holmes high and hard to the mat in a move that drew a penalty call, giving the injured Patriot the match on an injury disqualification.
Pinecrest finished eighth in the team competition, scoring 144 points among the 26-team field. Eden Morehead claimed the team crown with 197 points, followed by host team Jack Britt with 173.5 points.
Top-six finishes by Kevin Brown (112 pounds), Zane Excell (125) and Trevor Capp (145) boosted the Pinecrest team total.
Brown pinned South View's Westley Herrin in the Friday night preliminary, but got a slow start Saturday morning, dropping into the consolation rounds on a 20-4 tech fall loss to Greenville Rose 112-pounder Daniel Fisher.
Rebounding with pins against Brandon Beckman (Jack Britt), Kevin Pulliam (McMichael) and Justin Wilkens (Douglas Byrd), Brown recovered to take third place by pin against Julian Taylor of Gray's Creek. Brown is one match away from a 40-win season at 39-6.
Freshman Zane Excell gave a veteran's performance, finishing fourth after a loss in the consolation finals to Super 32 10th-ranked wrestler Phillip Shepherd of Seventy-First.
Excell advanced into the championship semifinals against top-ranked Casey Gashaw of Scotland, paving the way with a pinfall against Pine Forest's B. Wilson and a 9-1 major decision over Richmond wrestler Josh Pryce.
Gashaw, the eventual 125-pound champ, pinned Excell, sending him to the consolation bracket. Excell recovered, taking Pryce again, this time in a 3-1 decision, but fell short in the finals where he ran up against Shepherd where he lost by an 18-1 tech fall. Excell improves to 24-18 overall.
Trevor Capp snapped a slump with a pair of pins on Friday night, eliminating Greg Pugh of Douglas Byrd and Nic Demetris of South View to move into Saturday's championship quarterfinal round where Wakefield's Gray Gerald caught him on a 16-1 tech fall that sent the Pinecrest junior into the consolation side of the bracket. Capp responded with a 4-2 decision against Western Harnett's Dorian McDougald, then stumbled in a 6-2 loss to Troy Baranik of Scotland County.
South Rowan's Jon Iannone got the upper-hand over Capp with a pin to settle the question of fifth place.
Other Pinecrest wrestlers who posted points in the team tally included Justin Crawford (119) with a 3-2 tournament run. Sean Kaiser (130) and Mike Evans (160) went 2-2 for the weekend.
The Patriots turn their attention to the first of three pieces left in the Mid-Southeastern Conference puzzle when they host Westover on Wednesday.
. Pinecrest is 1-3 in conference competition with dates with Westover, Douglas Byrd and Seventy-First remaining.
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