Orange Crushes UP's Title Hopes
Union Pines’ state championship dreams were dashed Thursday in a 36-30 loss to Orange in the Class 3A East regional semifinals held at Northern Nash High School.
Orange (32-3) advanced to face Havelock, a 36-33 winner over Northern Nash in the semifinals, in the regional final and won 31-30. The Panthers face J.M. Robinson in Saturday’s 3A dual team state championship match.
Union Pines (30-3), which entered the match ranked No. 1 among 3A teams, trailed the third-ranked Panthers 26-18 before Mike Brennen lost a 4-2 decision in overtime to Justin Barbee at 160 pounds, extending the Orange lead to 29-18.
Matt Lester was beaten in a 13-2 major decision by Nick Shriner at 171 pounds, and with Union Pines needing a win from Graham Haulsee at 189 pounds, the senior lost an excruciating 3-2 decision to Chris Intehor, which extended the Orange lead to an insurmountable 36-18.
Haulsee led 2-1 in the third period, but a takedown by Intehor with less than a minute remaining proved to be the difference.
The Panthers forfeited the final two matches.
“I feel for these guys,” said Union Pines coach Matt Ragsdale. “These guys have worked so hard. It just hurts.”
With their duals season over, the Vikings now turn their attention to next Saturday’s individual regionals, which will be contested at Morehead High School.
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