Vike Wrestlers Stumble in Second Round
It all came down to one match for Union Pines to advance to the third round of the state dual team wrestling playoffs Tuesday in Cameron.
Ultimately the Vikings suffered a pin in the final match of the evening, in the 152-pound bout, to fall short by a tally of 38-36 to West Brunswick in the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A dual team playoffs.
The Vikings entered the second-round playoff dual missing two regular starters in Paul Ambrose and Sam Bartram, both out with the flu.
Ambrose, a junior captain for the Vikings, is the fourth-ranked 120-pound 3-A wrestler in the state according to retrorankings.com and was coming off winning a 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference title at the league tournament last Saturday.
Bartram, another of the Vikings six CFVC tournament champions, had been ranked in the top five of the 126-pound 3-A division for a majority of the season. However, the sophomore entered the dual unranked due to a prolonged mid-season illness that dropped him out of the rankings due to activity requirements.
Nevertheless, Union Pines head coach Chris Vondruska felt the Viking lineup he sent to the mat against West Brunswick was more than capable of earning a victory.
“We should have gotten the job done even without Sam (Bartram) and Paul (Ambrose),” said Vondruska. “The good news is that those two guys are not seriously injured — it’s just a little flu bug — so they are going to be back at it for regionals (individual playoffs). So I am really excited for that.”
Through six matches Union Pines found itself in a 26-6 hole against the Trojans. From there the Vikings won three straight as Daniel Hull (106 pounds) and Dylan Barber (113) earned pins and Mike Fedowitz (120) got a victory by forfeit.
After a setback in the 126-pound battle, the Vikes trailed the Trojans 30-24. Union Pines then earned another three consecutive wins to take a 36-30 lead. First Ryan Hull got a pin at 132 pounds, while Tim Squires and Connor Van Cleave each got decision wins.
“Daniel Hull was our superstar tonight,” said Vondruska of his freshman, who stepped in at 106 pounds to allow Fedowitz and Dylan Barber to both bump up a weight class on the evening. “He went out there twice and scored six points for us both times (with pins). He had been tested a few times this season in dual and tournament action, and it showed.”
With the two wins on the night Daniel Hull improved his record to 6-1 on the season.
In the final match of the night, Vike senior Dylan Duncan took a sizable lead into the third and final period of the 152-pound bout. The momentum of the match swiftly turned when Duncan was rolled over with plenty of time remaining on the clock. Moments later, Union Pines’ hopes of a third-round berth were dashed when he was pinned 41 seconds into the last period.
“My message to my team after the loss was that we now have to focus immediately on regionals,” said Vondruska. “It is not like we are treating the (second-round playoff dual) loss like it was a good thing, but we are going to use it as motivation.
“Sure it was a heartbreaking loss and it sucks, but every single one of our guys went out and competed their hardest. They gave it their all and did their best, and that is all you can ask for.”
The Vikings closed out their season with a record of 15-9 in dual competition.
Earlier in the evening, Union Pines pulled out a 45-33 victory over Eastern Guilford (15-7, Mid-State Conference second seed) in the opening round the dual team state playoffs on its home mat at Bob Ward Gymnasium to set up the second-round clash with the Trojans.
The Trojans earned a 57-12 win over Chapel Hill (14-15, Carolina Conference two seed) in Thursday’s other round-one postseason dual in Cameron.
At 19-5 on the season, West Brunswick, the top seed from the Waccamaw Conference, advanced to Thursday’s round-three dual team action for a chance to compete in the regional round, which is also contested on Thursday. The 3-A dual team state wrestling championship is scheduled for Saturday.
The Vikings still have more wrestling left this season. Union Pines, the two-time reigning 3-A NCHSAA state individual tournament team runner-up, takes the mats at the 3-A Mid-East regional tournament in Eden Feb. 22-23.
Union Pines 45 Eastern Guilford 33
152 pounds: Daniel Ochoa (EG) dec. Dylan Duncan 8-5. 160: Ethan Coker (UP) pinned James White 0:46. 170: Ian Burch (UP) tech. fall Jesus Ruiz 0:00 17-2. 182: Willie Bivens (EG) pinned Zach Yates 2:14. 195: Timothy Johnson (EG) pinned Justin Windle 0:57. 220: Garrett Jefferson (UP) maj. dec. Corbin Revels 12-4. 285: Josh Edgerton (EG) pinned Caleb Edwards 0:19. 106: Dylan Barber (UP) pinned Tristen Zobro 0:54. 113: Daniel Hull (UP) forfeit. 120: Mike Fedowitz, (UP) pinned Billy Ginther 2:50. 126: Ryan Williams (EG) pinned Mack Allen 4:39. 132: Ryan Hull (UP) pinned Tristan Hollaman 2:31. 138: Tim Squires (UP) pinned Joey Neve 3:52. 145: Caleb Stanley (EG) forfeit.
West Brunswick 38 Union Pines 36
160: Dylan Darguzas (WB) dec. Ian Burch 9-5. 170: Zach Yates (UP) pinned Nolan Scoggins 3:38. 182: Albert Landa (WB) pinned Justin Hall 3:26. 195: Dakota Smith, (WB) tech. fall Justin Windle 15-0. 220: Bobby McRainey (WB) pinned Garrett Jefferson 2:34. 285: Marquis Brown (WB) pinned Caleb Edwards. 1:12. 106: Daniel Hull (UP) pinned Jordan Hernandez 5:55. 113: Dylan Barber (UP) pinned Caleb Jasper 2:43. 120: Mike Fedowitz (UP) forfeit. 126: Porfroio Bautista (WB) pinned Robert Long 5:15. 132: Ryan Hull (UP) pinned Campbell Alspaugh, (WB), 1:10. 138: Tim Squires (UP) dec. David Frazier 12-5. 145: Connor Van Cleave, (UP), dec. Sterling Fullerton 5-1. 152: Elijah Jackson (WB) pinned Dylan Duncan 4:41.
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