Viking Wrestlers Take Second at Tiger Holiday Classic
Union Pines took home second place at the Tiger Holiday Classic wrestling tournament contested Tuesday and Wednesday in Chapel Hill.
Mooresville won the event with a total of 170.5 to edge out the Vikings’ runner-up tally of 167.5 points. Orange County placed third with 154 points. Mooresville is currently the third-rated 4A tournament team according to retrorankings.com, while Orange County is tied for fourth in the site’s 3A tournament team rankings.
Overall, Union Pines had six wrestlers place in the top-five, including four finalists.
“We had some guys really come up big for us at the Tiger Classic against some top flight divisions and elite wrestling programs,” said Vike head coach Matt Ragsdale. “We came close to taking it too because three points is not a lot for this type of tournament.”
Seniors Danny Deardorff and Jared Bartram became the first ever Vikings to finish first at the Tiger Holiday Classic. Bartram won the 171-pound weight division, while Deardorff claimed the 140-pound title.
Ragsdale said that Deardorff’s first-place finish was a very special moment for Union Pines.
“Danny was 0-6 for his career in the Tiger Holiday Classic coming into the event,” Ragsdale said, “but after last year’s tournament, he told me he was going to win his division this season and he did. He went 4-0 to take the title and it was really incredible to see him achieve that goal and become our first ever Tiger Classic champion.”
Brandon Berry brought home a second-place finish at 125 pounds for U.P., while Mike Brennan claimed runner-up honors in the 160-pound division. Chris Rubinosky took third in the 135-pound weight class for Union Pines and Vike Philip Mondi (119-pounds) placed fifth in his weight class.
The Vikings have now competed in four team tournaments this season, claiming two titles along with a fifth-place showing at the prestigious WRAL Invitational.
Union Pines is currently the second-rated 3A tournament team by retrorankings.com.
The Vikings recently fell from the top spot in the present edition of the coaches’ 3A dual team poll. With a record of 7-0 Union Pines slipped to second place in the poll, which came out Tuesday, after holding the top spot since preseason.
Ragsdale said he is pleased with how his Viking team has progressed to this point in the season in terms of their dual lineup and overall performance.
“I like what we have,” Ragsdale said, “but we can be stronger and will be stronger toward the end of the season when it really counts. Some of our younger guys are developing really nice because of the tough schedule we have.
“We wrestle the toughest schedule we can, because it is designed for us to build as we move along and really shine in the end.”
Next up for Union Pines is a 7 p.m. Cape Fear Valley conference dual meet against Western Harnett Wednesday at Bob Ward Gymnasium in Cameron.
Contact F.W. Manning II at frankwm2@gmail. com.
More like this story