PHS Finishes Second in Wrestling Regionals; Sends Five to States
The Pinecrest wrestling team went to the 4A East Regional Championship on Feb. 18 and 19 at West Johnston High School to compete against teams from 26 other high schools in the region.
With his strongest team to date, head coach Travis Flinchum took 11 wrestlers — each qualifying in the top 16 in their weight divisions — and came home with a second place team trophy and five state qualifiers.
The team included junior Zac Lupien at 103 pounds, sophomore Cody Fitzgerald at 119 pounds, freshman Dallas Roemer at 130 pounds, junior captain Garrett Bateman at 135 pounds, sophomore Jonah Caliri at 140 pounds, junior captain Dustin Roemer at 145 pounds, freshman Rider Excell at 152 pounds, senior Nathan Frederique at 160 pounds, sophomore Hawk George at 189 pounds, sophomore Luke Fetla at 215 pounds, and senior Gabe Hackney at 285 pounds.
At 103, Zac Lupien went in as a No. 2 seed with a 34-4 record and swept through his first three opponents, pinning Tyler Autry, of Cape Fear, Colby Porter, of Hoke and Joshua Greene, of Terry Sanford, to get to the championship final.
Lupien beat Garret Hinton (25-5) of Jack Britt with a 9-4 decision to become the Patriots' only regional champion of the tournament.
Dallas Roemer had a 39-5 record and was seeded first at 130 going into the tournament, where he pinned Josh Watts, of Lumberton, in the first round but then lost a tough 4-8 decision match against senior Aubrey Blad (30-13), of Jack Britt, which bumped him out of the championship bracket.
Dallas then fought his way through the consolation rounds, pinning Jonathon Iannone, of Southview, winning a tight 9-8 decision over New Bern's Eric Milks, and pinning Demetrius McRea, of E.E. Smith, en route to beating Anthony Mauro, of Ashley, and earn a third place finish.
At 135, Garrett Bateman was seeded No. 2 with a 32-7 record and pinned his first two opponents, Harry Bolling, of Knightdale, and Jack Britt's Petelo Mikaele before losing to Bradley Wheeler, of New Bern.
Bateman then pinned Curtis Washington, of Laney, and E.E. Smith's Jeff Zukowski to place third in his division.
Dustin Roemer was seeded No. 1 in the 145-pound class with a 42-0 record going into the tournament, where he pinned his first three opponents, Cedric Mack, of Southeast Raleigh, Terry Sanford's Mike Albrecht, and Kenneth Jones, of Pine Forest, to get to the championship final.
In his final match, Roemer lost to New Bern's Kelvin Dixon in a close 12-14 decision and took second overall.
At 215, Luke Fetla, who had a 30-11 record and was seeded sixth, won his first two matches against Jeremy McNeill, of Hoke, and Vincent Mollo, of Garner, with pins before falling to New Bern's Anthony Grist and dropping to the consolation bracket.
Fetla was able to come back strong and pin Doug Brown of E. E. Smith and Hoggard's Adonte Gladness in the final to place third.
All five of Pinecrest's top four placers — the most they have taken as a team in the last decade — will head to the 4A State Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum later this week — Feb. 24 through 26.
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