Pat Grapplers Ousted
Pinecrest wrestling coach Travis Flinchum said all season his team was young. But somehow, the Patriots just didn’t look the part.
They fell two points shy of going undefeated in Southeastern Conference duals but still won the regular season championship, then backed it up by winning the team title in the conference tournament.
They even routed Greenville Rose 42-26 Tuesday in one of two first-round Class 4A dual team state playoff matches hosted by Pinecrest, which was followed by a second-round match.
That’s when the team’s collective youth turned against it.
Trailing Pac-6 Conference champion Southern Durham 26-24 in the second round, the Patriots lost the next four matches, eventually falling 43-30 to a Spartan squad that looked the part of being stronger and more experienced.
“They were a little more physical, a little more confident,” said Flinchum of Southern Durham.
The Patriots (11-5) fell behind 26-12, but back-to-back pins by Dustin Roemer and Zane Excell, Pinecrest’s two best wrestlers record-wise, brought the team within a two-point deficit of the Spartans (17-7).
Roemer’s match against Shawn Helms at 140 pounds was tied 4-4 in the second period when the Patriot sophomore gained the pin with 29 seconds showing on the clock, while Excell, a senior who is ranked fifth individually at 145 pounds in the latest 4A rankings posted on retrorankings.com, took a 6-0 lead before pinning Langston Hines with 54 seconds remaining in the first period of the 145-pound match.
Pinecrest’s third best wrestler record-wise, 160-pounder Nathan Frederique, lost a tough pair of matches. The junior trailed Rose’s Josh Scales 6-5 before being pinned with 1:05 remaining in the second period, then lost a 16-6 major decision to Southern Durham’s Trelvon Thacker, who is ranked seventh at 160 pounds.
That result put the Spartans ahead 33-24 with three weight classes remaining, and with Pinecrest needing at least a decision loss from Hawk George at 171 pounds, the freshman was pinned in 1:40 by Southern Durham’s Joshua Cutler to end any hopes of a Patriot comeback.
“It’s just kind of hard with a young group of kids to come in and expect them to go upper body and things like that,” said Flinchum. “We do, in the offseason, go through a freestyle and greco season, so hopefully we’ll be able to improve in those areas.”
To open the first-round match, unranked Pinecrest senior Daniel Keith pinned Rose’s Nigel Rainbow in 51 seconds at 215 pounds to get the Patriots off to a fast start. Southern Durham forfeited to Keith after the outcome was already decided in the second round.
Pinecrest 103-pounder Zac Lupien went 1-1 on the night, pinning Rose’s Jamad Cradle in 1:51 in the first round before being pinned by Southern Durham’s Willie Hayes in 3:31 in the second.
Rose forfeited to Pinecrest 119-pounder Michael Lippincott in the first round, before the junior pinned Southern Durham’s Devonta Spears in 2:54 in the second.
Fellow junior Clem McKenzie notched an 18-2 technical fall victory over Rose’s Anthony Batts at 125 pounds in the first round but fell in a 14-2 major decision to Southern Durham’s Brandon McCrimmon in the second.
At 130 pounds, sophomore Garrett Bateman won a 5-1 decision over Rose’s Randy Dorfman at 130 pounds in the first round but was pinned by Southern Durham’s Rodnie Howard in 3:25 in the second.
Roemer was dominant in his first-round match against Connor Saleed, pinning the Rose 145-pounder in 48 seconds.
Excell had a tougher go of things in the first round but still won his match by a 12-1 major decision over Rose’s Winslow Johnson at 152 pounds.
Southern Durham defeated Holly Springs 47-18 in the first round to advance to the match against Pinecrest.
More like this story