Vike Grapplers Top Patriots in Cross-County Dual Meet
Union Pines defeated Pinecrest 42-25 in a nonconference wrestling dual in front of a packed house at Bob Ward Gymnasium Thursday in Cameron.
The performance capped off an impressive two-week opening salvo to a Viking season that head coach Matt Ragsdale and his team hope ends with both a Union Pines’ 3A NCHSAA dual and tournament state championship.
Currently the top ranked 3A dual squad in the coaches’ poll and the No. 1 rated tournament team by retrorankings.com, Union Pines is now 3-0 on the season. Last weekend the Vikes claimed their first tournament victory with a winning tally of 220.5, earning five championships and five runner-up finishes at Southwestern Randolph High School in Asheboro.
“Coming into this match tonight we knew Pinecrest was going to wrestle hard,” Ragsdale said, “and that is just what they did. The Patriots are well coached and are a good squad of boys. They managed to keep the dual close and made some adjustments in their lineup that caused us some problems.”
After the ninth match of the dual, Pinecrest had managed to trim an early 15-point Vike lead down to 25-19. But then in a display of dominance, the heart of the Union Pines lineup delivered in a major way.
First, Vike senior Kelvin Morrison picked up a 13-8 decision in the 160-pound bout that was the first of four straight wins for Union Pines. The 171-pound senior Jared Bartram then followed with a victory via a technical fall. Mike Brennan clinched the dual for the Vikings with a second-period pin to win the 189-pound contest, bringing the score to 39-19 with two matches remaining.
Brennan is ranked fourth in the 3A 189-pound division as a junior, while Morrison (160) and Bartram (171) are both ranked second in their respective weight classes. While Morrison jumped started the onslaught for Union Pines with a strong showing, he still saw some room for improvement from a personal standpoint.
“I am really excited with the start we are off to this season,” said Morrison. “Our placing at the top of the polls and rankings along with the work we have done so far on the mat has given us high hopes. We had high hopes last year but got shot down in the playoffs, but this season I feel like we are going to see it through to the end and reach all of our goals.”
At the start of the season, Ragsdale made it clear that Union Pines’ team goals were to claim state dual and tournament titles. After the match Morrison reaffirmed the Vikings’ collective attitude concerning that possibility.
“We have some younger guys, including some freshman wrestling in our lineup this season,” said Morrison. “While we are one of the top tournament teams in the state from top to bottom, when we wrestle duals, the guys have to understand the importance of picking up as many bonus points as possible.
“In my match tonight I was one point away from (earning) a major decision and even though we did not need that extra point this time, I should have found a way to get it. In close matches every point is critical and you never know what match or extra bonus point might end up being the deciding one. That is why we have to get as many points as we can (in) each period of every contest.”
Out of Thursday’s 14 total matches, homestanding Union Pines claimed nine victories including four pins, one major decision and one technical fall. Pinecrest earned three pins and one major decision in its five victories.
The Vikes strung together three straight pins to take an early 18-4 lead through the fourth match. From there Pinecrest fought back. Patriot junior Dustin Roemer, the top-ranked 4A 145-pound wrestler, picked up a tough decision win over Vike sophomore Adrian Soto Perez (ranked eighth in the 3A 152-class) in the 152-pound tilt to make the score 25-19 with five matches remaining in the contest.
Thursday’s dual marked the first time Pinecrest (0-2) and head coach Travis Flinchum wrestled under the spotlight of Union Pines’ mat lamp, which serves to place all the focus on the wrestlers by darkening the remaining area of Bob Ward Gymnasium.
“The crowd out here tonight kind of reminds me of the atmosphere we had at Pinecrest in my days of wrestling for Coach (Tim) Nocton,” Flinchum said. “The big crowd and the cheerleaders, along with the enthusiasm here is really cool. That is the place we are striving to get back to for the Patriot wrestling program.
“Wrestling is such an awesome sport. This type setup and fan support helps to show that and it is shame more people don’t get the chance to come out and experience matches like this one. We knew coming in Union Pines had some big guns so we shifted some kids around to see some good matches. As a team we don’t care who we are wrestling against or where we are wrestling them — we just go in and go after them.”
On Saturday, the Vikings were in Cary for the Green Hope Invitational, in Cary, and Pinecrest traveled to the Asheboro Duals. Wednesday Union Pines returns to action in their Cape Fear Valley Conference season opener at Overhills, while the Patriots hit the road for a nonconference contest against Anson County.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPHS 42, PHS 25
103: Zac Lupien, PHS, maj. dec. Darrell Utt, UPHS, 14-2; 112: Billy Hornbaker, UPHS, pinned Canteen Dockery, PHS, 1:12; 119: Philip Mondi, UPHS, pinned Alex Steinbacher, PHS, 0:29; 125: Brandon Berry, UPHS, pinned Clen Mckenzie, PHS, 5:36; 130: Cody Goodwin, PHS, pinned Taylor Walker, UPHS, 2:19; 135: Chris Rubinosky, UPHS, maj. dec. Dallas Roemer, PHS, 14-1; 140: Danny Deardorff, UPHS, dec. Garrett Bateman, PHS, 10-8; 145: Tim Smith, PHS, pinned Koven Hansley, UPHS, 4:44; 152: Dustin Roemer, PHS, dec. Adrian Soto-Perez, UPHS, 8-6; 160: Kelvin Morrison, UPHS, dec. Rider Excel, PHS, 13-6; 171: Jared Bartram, UPHS, tech. fall Hawk George, PHS, 3:57 20-4; 189: Michael Brennan, UPHS, pinned Jacob Penton, PHS, 3:09; 215: Josh Huskey, UPHS, dec. Luke Fetia, PHS, 10-5; 285: Calvin Farlow, PHS, pinned Josh McGowan, UPHS, 4:53
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