Vikes Finish Second at Sarah Wilkes Wrestling Tourney
A clearly stated goal of claiming an NCHSAA 3A dual team and tournament state titles has set the tone for the Union Pines wrestling team since the onset of preseason.
After being eliminated in the state quarterfinals in the dual team playoffs and placing fifth at the 3A NCHSAA state wrestling championship last year, Viking head coach Matt Ragsdale said that the bar had been raised coming into this season’s campaign as he and his team made no bones about their aspirations of winning two state titles.
So far, Union Pines’ performance on the mat, along with its season-long placement amid the top of both the coaches’ 3A dual team poll and retrorankings.com’s tournament team ratings, has demonstrated that the Vikings’ dedication and desire to make their goals a reality have not wavered.
In its most recent outing, Union Pines placed second overall at the Sarah Wilkes Invitational Saturday in Eden.
The Vikes had five wrestlers place in the top-three of their respective weight divisions at the event, which was made up of a solid 14-team field. Union Pines scored 176.5 points to secure a runner-up result, while also receiving the team sportsmanship award.
Second-ranked 4A Lake Norman won the tournament with a tally of 190, while Rock Hill tallied 167.5 to finish third.
Danny Deardorff finished as Union Pines’ sole 2011 Sarah Wilkes Invitational champion Saturday to collect his second straight tournament title.
Union Pines’ recent runner-up finish marked the second time this season it has placed second at a tournament. The Vikes also have two first-place finishes on the season along with a strong fifth-place showing at the renowned WRAL invitational in Raleigh.
While Deardorff took home the 140-pound title, fellow Vike seniors Chris Rubinosky (135 pounds), Mike Brennan (160) and Jared Bartram (171) each earned runner-up honors. Sophomore Adrian Soto-Perez placed third for U.P. in the 145-pound bracket.
The Vikings’ 14-man lineup features eight wrestlers ranked in the top eight of their respective weight classes by retrorankings.com.
At 27-3 on the year, junior Philip Mondi is ranked seventh in the 119-pound weight class. Senior Brandon Berry (17-3) is the third-ranked 125-pound wrestler. Rubinosky (22-4) is ranked fourth at 135 and Deardorff is the fifth-ranked 140-pounder.
Soto-Perez is 19-6 on the season and ranked fourth at 145. Sporting a record of 19-2, Brennan is the second-ranked wrestler in the 160-pound class, while Bartram (21-3) is fourth at 171. Rounding out the ranked Vikings with a 16-7 record is senior Kelvin Morrison, who is eighth in the 189-pound class.
Union Pines reclaimed the top spot in the retrorankings.com 3A tournament team rankings, edging out defending NCHSAA 3A wrestling state dual team and tournament champion Jay. M. Robinson by one point.
At 8-0 in dual competition, the Vikes are ranked third in the current coaches’ 3A dual team poll, behind top-ranked Jay M. Robinson and Orange, the school that eliminated Union Pines from the dual playoffs in 2010.
According to Ragsdale the Vikes’ league dual meet against Southern Lee, originally schedule to take place Wednesday in Sanford, was postponed until Jan. 31. The Vikings are currently atop the 3A Cape Fear Valley Conference standings with a league mark of 4-0.
Next up on the schedule, Union Pines travels to Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville Saturday for the Feud in the Forest tournament slated to start at 9:15 a.m.
The Vikes then have two dual meets the following week, at home versus non-conference foe Chapel Hill and on the road against league rival Southern Lee.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story