Viking Wrestlers Finish Strong
Union Pines put the finishing touches on yet another stellar season Saturday with a runner-up finish at the NCHSAA 3A state individual wrestling championships in Greensboro.
The Vikings tallied 88 points as a team to fall two points shy of tournament champion Fred T. Foard’s winning total of 90. St. Stephens took third with 85 points, while Orange scored 84 points to come in at the fourth spot. Havelock rounded out the top five with a fifth place tally of 75.
Viking head coach Matt Ragsdale emphasized that Union Pines wrestling has made big strides in the past four seasons. All the other schools who placed in the top five at the event have won state championships, according to Ragsdale.
“Most of those schools have won numerous state titles,”said Ragsdale. “We are sort of the new guy on the block, in a way, so we had to break in and we did. We set new school records for a fourth straight season at the state championship, and anytime we are setting records, we have to be pleased with our performance.”
The second-place finish at the individual state wrestling championships was a new Union Pines’ record, as was the Vikes total of 88 points. Another record the Vikings set was having six Union Pines wrestlers place at the state meet.
“It was a great showing for us Saturday,” said Ragsdale. “We were very close to our goal of a state championship — two points is a very small margin in wrestling, but we did achieve a lot to get that 88 points.
“We had to deal with a good amount of adversity, especially for our seniors, on Friday. But having seven qualifiers helped us and as a team we fought our way back. Both Brandon Berry and Chris Rubinosky lost in the first round only to fight back to place fourth and sixth place, respectively.
“We actually had the most wrestlers left in the tournament during the consolation at the end. We used that edge and made it worked to our advantage.”
Three Union Pines wrestlers made it to the semifinal round at the event — seniors Jared Bartram and Danny Deardorff along with junior Mike Brennan.
Bartram ended the meet with a third-place finish in the 171-pound division, using a 5-1 decision to take his final match. Brennan also placed third, winning his final match by default, while Deardorff scored a fifth place finish for the Vikes.
Including Bartram, Brennan and Deardorff, Union Pines had eight wrestlers competing at the two-day state tournament.
Philip Mondi went 3-2 in the 119-pound division to place sixth. After dropping his first match in the 125-pound class, senior Brandon Berry won three straight to get to the third place match, were he dropped a 3-1 overtime decision to finish fourth.
Viking senior Chris Rubinosky also lost his first match, but won his next two before ultimately falling by a 5-4 decision to just miss wrestling in the 135-pound third-place match. In the fifth place bout, he came up just short again, dropping a 1-0 decision to finish sixth.
Sophomore Adrian Soto-Perez went 5-1 at the tournament to collect a third place finish in the 145-pound division, while senior Kelvin Morrison went 1-2 for Union Pines in the 189-pound division.
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com.
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