February 9, 2010
The day the Viking wrestlers and head coach Matt Ragsdale have had circled on their calendar ever since they lost in the dual playoffs last season has arrived.
Ragsdale and his UP squad, the number one ranked 3A team in the state, have not been shy about making it clearly known all season long that their goal is to capture this years' State Dual Title.
At 27-2 and undefeated on the season against 3A competition, Union Pines is hosting the opening two rounds of the NCHSAA 3A wrestling dual playoffs tonight.
Up first for the Vikes is a match against Morehead High, (11-6 and the 2nd second from the Mid-State conference). The battle starts at 6 p.m. sharp.
Should Union Pines past that test, then the lights will be dimmed, the spotlight will be turned on center mat, and the DJ/announcer will take his place; as the Vikes will battle the winner of the S. Brunswick/Chapel Hill Match for a spot in the third round of the dual playoffs starting at (approximately) 7:15.
South Brunswick is 25-5 and the top seed from the Waccamaw conference, while Chapel Hill (15-11) is the second seed out of the Carolina conference.
On paper, Union Pines seems to be a heavy favorite to come out of this bracket, as the team boasts ten wrestlers currently ranked in the class 3-A Top-10 in their respective weight classes by NCMat.com
However nothing is ever decided on paper. One thing is for certain though, the atmosphere at Bob Ward Gymnasium will be electric and some top quality wrestling will take place tonight.
So all you fans of wrestling, Union Pines athletics or high school sports in general should really consider heading on out to UPHS. Should you choose to do so, I can safely guarantee you will be treated to a brand of wrestling which is sure to provide a large amount of thrills, tension and pure sporting/spectating enjoyment
--F.W. Manning II