NEWPORT — Corinth Holders needed a perfect night Thursday in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2A dual-team wrestling playoffs against state power Newport Croatan. The Pirates gave a great effort but not a perfect one, falling 37-35 to the Cougars.
In just its third year, the Pirates’ wrestling program posted a 38-5 dual record but saw its season end at the hands of a team that was ranked No. 1 in the state entering the playoffs.
Croatan (31-4) has been in the state finals the past three seasons, winning titles in 2010 and 2011.
“We had to catch a lot of breaks tonight,” Corinth Holders coach Eric Wischhusen said. “When you’re wrestling the No. 1 ranked team in the state, that’s usually the position you’re in. If everybody wrestled perfect tonight, all 14 guys, we had a real chance.
“We had to get everything just right. The guys did a lot of great things but not enough against a team like Croatan.”
Corinth Holders was right where it wanted to be after seven matches when 106-pound entry Darius Dunn grabbed a second-period pin of Croatan’s Ben Skiba using a strong chest-to-chest takedown to get Skiba’s shoulders on the mat at 3 minutes, 7 seconds, tying the match at 17-all.
Dunn stands 49-3 on the season entering next weekend’s individual regionals.
“Darius Dunn has been a standout all year with his effort and how much he’s progressed as a second year wrestler,” Wischhusen said. “He’s been a stud all year for us and he was again tonight.”
However, the Cougars showed why they’ve dominated 2A team and individual wrestling over the past half-decade over the next three matches.
Grayson Millis worked his way to a third-period pin of the Pirates’ Dustin Brennan at 113 points, then Dustin McCaw followed with a first-period pinfall win over Blake Grindstaff, pushing the Croatan lead to 29-17 suddenly.
Alex Bray followed with a 6-2 decision over Cameron Brewer at 126 and the Cougars were a pin away from a spot in the regional final.
Austin Meaney came through for Croatan with a third-period pin, clinching the win by upping the Cougars’ lead to an insurmountable 38-17 with just three matches remaining.
Corinth Holders wrestlers Tyler Johnson (138), Tyler Sigler (145) and Matt Duncan (152) took forfeit wins to finish off the match.
Anthony Scott won a tight 9-7 win over Corinth Holders’ Charlie Gray at 160 to start the match, and then Andrew Colborn notched a technical fall for an early 8-0 lead.
William Floyd pinned Croatan’s Isaac Edgren in the 182-pound match before Kyle Colborn answered with a quick pin at 195.
Elijah Harris (43-4) nabbed a technical fall at 220 for the Pirates before Johnathon Rigsby edged the Pirates’ Chris Solano 3-2 in the heavyweight bout.