UP Grapplers Win 84-0
Union Pines opened its Cape Fear Valley Conference wrestling season by scoring a perfect 84-0 shutout of the Overhills Jaguars Wednesday in Cameron.
"Our boys knew coming into tonight that this was a big one," said Vike head coach Matt Ragsdale. "For us, every single conference match is huge, and this is certainly an encouraging start to reaching our goal of winning the state championship."
With the victory, the Viking grapplers are now 8-0 in dual competition and 1-0 in league matches.
It was the first time in Union Pines history that the wrestling team notched a perfect score at home. An 84-0 shutout comes via winning every match by pinfall, resulting in the maximum six points being added to the team total after each of the 14 individual matches.
"Getting an 84-0 score in wrestling happens more often than one might think," Ragsdale said, "but it still is a unique and impressive achievement to win each match by way of fall."
With another win, Mike Brennan ran his undefeated season mark to 11-0 in the 160-pound weight class.
"Mike is wrestling really well," said Ragsdale. "Our team is so full of solid wrestlers that anybody could still be undefeated. It's just a matter of who we have competed against. We have had such a tough schedule this year that there are not too many times that we will have somebody remain unbeaten for this long."
Seth Kosem (112 pounds), Brandon Berry (119), Randy Stevens (130) and Kaleb Rierson (215) have all only suffered one defeat so far this season. Meanwhile, the Vikes have five wrestlers with two losses, Danny Deardorff (125, 9-2), Chris Rubinosky (135, 10-2), Adrian Soto-Perez (145, 10-2), Graham Haulsee (189, 11-2) and Marquis McKinney (285, 6-2).
"We have six seniors on this team, and they have all really embraced the role of being leaders," said Ragsdale. "At the same time, we also have many informal leaders that make our jobs as coaches fairly easy. These guys all lead by example and have stepped up to take full accountability for what their teammates are supposed to be doing both during practice, in the wrestling room and out on the mat during matches."
With his team off to a fast start, Ragsdale feels it is important for both the Union Pines wrestlers and coaching staff to stay mentally tough and focused in order for the Vikings to continue to be successful.
"We have to stay healthy," said Ragsdale. "That is the number one concern for all programs. However, it is equally important for us to make sure we all know the right times not to push so hard and also recognize when we should be going all out. That seems to always be one of the toughest tasks to tackle over the course of a grueling season, especially when you are dealing with a talented and strong program."
The Vikings return to the mat Saturday, when they participate in the Western Harnett Duals in Lillington. Union Pines' next conference contest is Wednesday (Dec. 16), when Ragsdale and his squad host the Gray's Creek Bears at 7 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at (910) 639-5481 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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