RALEIGH — Holly Springs fought gamely against Jack Britt in the second round of the state 4A wrestling duals, but the Wildcats were too deep.
With the action starting at 132, the Mid-South champions broke open a competitive match with back-to-back first-period pins by Saetyre McDowell at 195 and Jacob Roberson at 220 and rolled to a 40-18 win at Millbrook.
In first-round matches earlier in the evening, Holly Springs eliminated West Johnston 54-27 while Britt took out Millbrook 60-9.
“There were some things I didn’t like,” Holly Springs coach Brandon Inge said. “We were getting beat back to the circle, and sometimes we looked intimidated when we didn’t need to be. We know Jack Britt’s a good team. We needed to be more aggressive.
“We beat a good team in the first round and advanced for the first time. But Jack Britt might be the best team in the East.”
In the second-round match that included only five pins, Tri-9 runner-up Holly Springs (31-4) got five victories.
“It was great,” said Britt coach John DeWeese, whose team is 31-7. “My guys pretty much did what they were supposed to do. Making it to the next round is what it’s all about.”
Golden Hawks junior Aaron Redus improved to 52-0 at 106, nipping Britt’s Andrew Wanovich 2-1.
“I wrestled him last year and he beat me 7-0,” Redus said. “I’m excited that we got past the first round. We can wrestle better than we did against Jack Britt, but we’ve still got a lot of young guys filling in spots. We’re only going to get better.”
Holly Springs got its only pin at 120, with junior Parker Ragsdale (33-1) topping Garrett Hinton in 44 seconds.
“I felt good,” said Ragsdale, who finished third in the state last season. “In warm-ups I was really loose and ready to go. I wrestled (Hinton) in the Consi Semis of the state last year and that was a 3-2 match. I knew it was going to be tough. He’s a tough kid but I felt it.
“We’ve had a good season. Today we showed some of that improvement, but we haven’t peaked yet.”
The Golden Hawks’ other victories were from senior Javon Johnson, who topped Michael Palmer 7-4 at 138; junior Austin Galati, who beat Equel Easterling 9-1 at 170; and sophomore Travian Cooke, who got past Joe Stevenson 12-6 at 160.
West coach David Prendergast said he was pleased with his team’s performance against the Golden Hawks, who had defeated them 50-15 in the Wildcat Duals on Dec. 1.
“Our 182-pounder (Zach Morrison) is never out of the match until there’s a 15-point spread,” said Prendergast, who had been Inge’s coach at Nottaway High in Crewe, Va.
West (20-7), which was the champion of the Greater Neuse River conference, had five individual winners.
Morrison (32-15) trailed Shane Newman 13-8 before executing a pin at 5:29.
Millbrook coach Scott Saby said his team wrestled hard against a superior opponent. “We wrestled hard,” Saby said. “They’re a very good team and executed well. We could have scored on some things where we didn’t. We’ve got some work to do to get ready for (individual) regionals. But all credit to Jack Britt.”
Cap-8 runner-up Millbrook (26-5) got only two victories against Britt, but both were impressive. Senior Chris Williams (46-5) rolled to a 19-3 technical fall over Stevenson at 160.
“I worked my stuff and ended up tech-falling him,” said Williams, who hopes to wrestle at Campbell.
Senior Brett Burton (42-9) whipped Palmer 20-11 at 138.
“I didn’t underestimate him, because they have a lot of good wrestlers,” Burton said. “I just made sure not to do anything stupid.”