West Pine Middle Wrestling Program Captures First-Ever Team Trophy
By Christine Excell
Special to The Pilot
The West Pine Middle School wrestling team went to a dual tournament at East Montgomery High School on Saturday and came away with a second-place finish.
The trophy the Wildcats brought home was the team's first since the wrestling program was started three years ago. West Pine also had four eighth-grade wrestlers, Dallas Roemer, Rider Excell, John Major and Bryson Thomas, go 4-0 in the tournament to earn first-place medals.
The tournament was a five-team affair, and West Pine competed against middle school programs from Southern Middle School, East Montgomery, North Stanly and South Stanly.
West Pine coach Chad Holmes, who's in his first season with the Wildcats, has brought the wrestling program to a higher level with practices modeled after the Pinecrest High School wrestling program. His reasoning is not only to make the middle school team more successful but also to prepare the eighth-graders when they make the jump to the high school team next season.
The hard work is paying off thus far, with conference wins against Southern Middle and West Hoke and a one-point loss to East Hoke.
Three years ago, in an effort to link local youth wrestling clubs to the high school wrestling programs and with tremendous support from the Sandhills Sandcats Youth Wrestling Club, wrestling programs were implemented at three middle schools in Moore County - New Century, West Pine and Southern Middle. The purpose was to develop interest in the sport and hone skills at the middle school level.
Pinecrest has benefited from the Sandcats youth program in the past, with wrestlers such as Zach Martin, Sam Ransdell and Kevin Brown making state tournament appearances for the Patriots. Current Sandcats alums Zane Excell and Daniel Keith are team captains for Pinecrest this season.
The middle school link has already proven to be successful, as Pinecrest sophomore Dustin Roemer was a state qualifier in his freshman season last year. Roemer started as a Sandcat, was captain of the first West Pine Middle School team and now maintains a varsity position along with other sophomores and freshmen who represented their respective middle schools on the mat.
The West Pine team will compete in its last meet of the season today at 4 p.m. at home hosting New Century. The conference tournament will be contested this Saturday.
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