Patriots Pin Down State Wrestling Title
In genuine storybook fashion, Pinecrest claimed a 4-A team title Saturday evening at the Greensboro Coliseum during its final match of the 2012 North Carolina High School Athletic Association individual wrestling championships.
With the fate of his team resting squarely on his shoulders, senior captain Dustin Roemer notched a win via pinfall 3:37 into the 152-pound state final bout to clinch the coveted championship for the Patriots.
It was Roemer’s second consecutive state title, as he finished his final campaign with a perfect record of 51-0. The University of Virginia signee captured the crown at 145 pounds last year in the same building.
“This one feels a lot better knowing I’m not the only one (from Pinecrest) that made it this far,” Roemer said after his win. “We had seven guys make it to the state tournament this year. That’s what excites me most. I know it’s pretty exciting to win states for a second year in a row (as an individual), but I am more excited about the team thing.”
His victory gave Pinecrest six team points, pushing the Pats’ team total to a combined 100.5 points — safely out of reach from both eventual runner-up Southern Alamance (95.5) and third-place Parkland (94), which entered the event seeking its sixth straight individual team title at the state level.
Two weeks earlier the Parkland Mustangs put a damper on the Patriots’ NCHSAA dual team state title hopes, dealing Pinecrest a 36-25 defeat in the championship match. It was Parkland’s third straight dual title in the 4-A classification and sixth consecutive championship overall, having taken the 3-A title three straight times starting with a win in 2007.
After his squad lost that dual-final match on Parkland’s home floor, the comments and observations of Pinecrest head coach Travis Flinchum helped cast a redemptive glow on the Patriots’ crowning achievement as the group waited on the floor of the Greensboro Coliseum Saturday night to take the podium and claim their hardware.
“It is good the program is moving along,” Flinchum said that fateful night, “and we are happy we got here, but the guys are still upset … the hope now is that this loss can motivate us to give it our all as we try to win a regional (individual) championship and state championship these next two weeks — none of those goals change.”
Pinecrest managed to make the words uttered by its supportive, loyal and ever confident coach prophetic, as the squad hosted and won the regional tournament a week prior to starting competition in the state championship Thursday evening.
To win a state championship, a team needs a solid number of qualifiers. The Patriots certainly covered that requirement convincingly with four regional champion wrestlers on its way to winning the Mideast 4-A Regional title at Pinecrest High School.
The Patriots collected 176 team points to best Jack Britt’s 155.5 runner-up total. Irvin Enriquez, at 106 pounds, Garrett Bateman (138), Dustin Roemer (152) and Luke Fetla (220) each won individual regional championships.
Joining those four at the three-day state individual championships for Pinecrest were third-place regional finishers Zac Lupien (113) and Dallas Roemer (132), along with 160-pound regional runner-up Rider Excell.
Each of the seven wrestlers won at least one match at the state tournament, a fact Flinchum made special note of.
“The kids have been tough all year, battling a number of different factors, so it is just good to be able to see a plan come together,” said Flinchum. “It was no secret coming into this thing we knew how tough Parkland was going to be and Southern Alamance brought it to, with three kids winning state titles and another getting third, which is amazing.
“At the end of the day I could not ask for any more than I got from this group of guys. We came in here the first day and all seven of our kids won. So everybody on this team contributed to winning this team tournament, which is pretty fantastic and just does not happen very often.”
Enriquez, a freshman, took fourth-place overall at 106 pounds, winning his first match with a pin and second by a major decision. Lupien (113) picked up a first-round win to close out his season with a record of 41-16, while Patriot captain and fellow senior Bateman (36-6) earned two pins and four victories (overall) to place fifth in the 136-pound bracket.
Excell (160) wrapped up his sophomore campaign with an opening-round victory via pinfall, and an overall mark of 47-8. Meanwhile, 220-pound Fetla advanced to the championship semifinals with a major win and pinfall victory. Fetla ultimately added another pin on his way to a fourth-place finish to complete his junior season with a record of 52-4.
By the time the tournament reached the 5 p.m. championship round, with 94.5 points Pinecrest led then second-place Parkland (86) by 7.5 points and had two wrestlers in the finals, including Dustin and his younger brother, sophomore Dallas Roemer (50-6), who finished as the runner-up in the 132-pound final, dropping a tough 9-6 decision to East Gaston’s John Grigg.
Parkland placed four wrestlers into the championship round with Phazon Roddy (106) and Drew Turner (113) claiming state championships, while Southern Alamance had three title winners, including Tony DeAngelo (138), Joey Moon (145) and Cody Boswell (160).
Scotland County’s Nick Kee, the 170-pound champion, earned one technical fall, one pin and two majors. As a result the junior wrapped up the season with a 50-0 mark and was selected Most Outstanding Wrestler. A total of 77 schools were represented in the 4-A tournament.
Just before Pinecrest was called to take its place on the podium, Flinchum was already looking ahead.
“We won so we are excited about it,” he said. “Our seniors were able to go out with a win, which is nice. Dallas (Roemer) was in the state finals and will be back next year. We also felt like we could have had another one or two (wrestlers) in that championship round. So we’ve just got to get back to the drawing board now, and figure out what we have to do to get back (here) next year.”
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com
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