Vikings Place Four Wrestlers in States
The Union Pines Viking wrestling team finished in fifth place at the NCHSAA state 3-A individual wrestling championships that concluded Saturday evening in Greensboro.
Entering the event as the two-time reigning state runner-up Union Pines sent six wrestlers to the state finals this season including Paul Ambrose, Dylan Barber, Sam Bartram Ian Burch, Mike Fedowitz and Ryan Hull.
All six Vikes won their first match of the event to make it to the quarterfinals — marking the first time Union Pines had every one of its state qualifiers to score points at the state tournament.
Through the completion of opening day action the Vikes trailed first place and defending tournament champion Orange High School by half a point at 18.5 to 18.
With 10 wrestlers in the event Orange ended up winning the state title for a second straight season Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum with a point total of 106.5. Robinson High placed second with a tally of 98, followed by North Gaston (86.5), St. Stephens (78.0) and Union Pines with 65 points.
Union Pines had four wrestlers make it to the semifinals in their individual weight-class brackets by Friday afternoon. The four 2012-2013 semifinalist for the Vikes were Barber at 106 pounds, Ambrose (120), Bartram (126) and Hull at 132.
Although Union Pines went 0-for-4 in their semifinal matches, the Vikes performed well in the consolation brackets to secure a pair of third–place finishes, as well as two fourth-place spots on the podium.
Barber became Union Pines’ first freshman state-placer when he got a 3-1 overtime decision win in the consolation semis to earn a berth in the third-place match. He would fall 11-0 in that bout but still placed fourth in the state in the 106-pound division and went 3-2 at the event.
Vikings co-captain and junior Paul Ambrose also earned a fourth-place finish at the event via an overtime win in the consolation semifinals of the 120-pound division and finished with a record of 3-2 in the tournament.
The event marked sophomore Bartram’s second time as a state qualifier. Eventually he would lose in the semifinals to two-time state champions Tyler Ross from Jacksonville High. However, Bartram won his final two matches of the championship to post a tournament record of 4-1 and finish in third-place in the 126-pound division with a 10-4 decision win.
The third-place finish by Bartram tied a school record for the highest ever finish at the state meet by a Union Pines sophomore.
Hull, a senior and team co-captain, narrowly missed a spot in the championship round as he lost a 4-3 overtime decision in the semifinals. From there the Viking veteran picked up his second pin of the event to land in the third-place match, which he won with a 5-1 decision. Hull was the highest scoring Union Pines wrestler at the tournament and closed with a record of 4-1 at the event.
Union Pines head coach Chris Vondruska was happy with the effort he received from all six of his wrestlers at the 3-A state tournament that featured 83 schools represented in competition.
“We are absolutely excited about how our guys wrestled through adversity,” said Vondruska. “The effort has been there all year for our team and it was not lacking at the states, so I am pleased by that. For our program I think it is great that (next season) we will have three returning state-place winners.
“I don’t think we have ever had three returning state placers (Ambrose, Barber and Bartram) so that is something really special and nice to look forward to as we turn our attention immediately to next season.”
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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