Vikings to Host '09 Champ
Seniors to be Honored Prior to Match
The last two champions of the Cape Fear Valley 3A Conference are set to tangle tonight when Southern Lee visits Union Pines for a 7 p.m. wrestling match.
The Vikings, who enter with a 25-2 record in duals competition, including 4-0 in conference matches, are the top-ranked 3A squad in the state coming into the match against the reigning conference champion.
"Southern Lee will be a younger team than last year but will still be resilient," said head coach Matt Ragsdale. "We expect a very large crowd."
Union Pines will honor six seniors prior to the match - Graham Haulsee, Seth Kosem, Matt Lester, Marquis McKinney, Kaleb Rierson and Randy Stevens.
The Vikings are coming off a third-place finish at the Sarah Wilkes Tournament at Eden Morehead High School, an event that featured seven top-five squads from three different classifications.
The team title came down to the heavyweight finals, with Union Pines needing a pin from McKinney against a wrestler from Enka to win the tournament. McKinney fell in a 7-6 decision, and Enka took the title with 174 points, followed by Jay M. Robinson with 171 and Union Pines with 167.5.
"It was an awesome finale," Ragsdale said.
Southern Lee lost nine seniors off last year's team to graduation but still brings some firepower into tonight's match at Bob Ward Gymnasium. One of the more competitive individual matches could feature Southern Lee junior Miguel Aguirre, ranked ninth at 125 pounds in the latest Class 3A individual rankings, versus Union Pines junior Danny Deardorff, who has appeared in the individual rankings at times this season. Both were state tournament qualifiers a season ago.
Union Pines has 10 wrestlers ranked in the 3A individual rankings posted on retrorenkings.com this week, highlighted by Rierson's second-place showing at 215 pounds.
Brandon Berry (119), Stevens (130) and Chris Rubinosky (135) are each ranked sixth in their respective weight classes, while Kosem (112), Kelvin Morrison (152), Mike Brennen (160) and Graham Haulsee (189) each are ranked eighth. Adrian Soto-Perez (145) and McKinney (285) have each entered the rankings at the 10th position.
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