CARY — In the words of Cary wrestling coach Taylor Cummings, they are our Four Horsemen of the lower and middle lineup.
The borrowed nickname wont stand the test of time -- Grantland Rices Four Horsemen of Notre Dame was coined 89 years ago at the 1924 at a Notre Dame-Army football game -- but by whatever moniker the Four Horsemen led Cary to the team title in the Mark Adams Holiday Classic that the Imps host in their gym.
All four wrestlers claimed gold medals as Cary made up a 4.5-point deficit to Wilmington Laney entering the finals to win with 209 points to Laneys 201.5. Sanderson was third in the 19-team event with 186 points.
The bigger the stage, the better they perform, Cummings said. We needed those wins, and we can always count on them.
They are senior 126-pounder Parker Ragsdale, sophomore 132-pounder Kollin Wade, junior 138-pounder Will Clark and junior 160-pounder Mark Mulligan.
The title marked the first time Cary won the Adams tournament under Cummings, the fourth-year coach and former N.C. State wrestler who replaced the legendary Jerry Winterton in the 2010-11 season.
There is a lot more responsibility when you host a tournament, and we count on all of our JV and varsity wrestlers to put it on, Cummings said of the many operational tasks. That makes it twice as nice when you win.
As Ragsdale put it, We dont want to have to set up everything and tear down everything without winning titles. Otherwise its like we did all that work for nothing.
In all, Cary had five wrestlers in the finals. Ragsdales 126-pound bout was the first of three in successive weight classes, meaning Cummings didnt have to get up from his coachs chair on the corner of the mat through three straight wins.
Ragsdale won with a pin in 4:35, Wade claimed a 10-2 decision at 132 and Clark rolled up an 18-6 victory at 138.
For Clark, it was his second straight Adams title, but he mentioned the importance of delivering a team title to Cummings. Now that Cummings is in his fourth year, there are no more wrestlers he inherited. Winterton still helps with the program, but Clark said Cummings has made his mark.
Im happy to be helping him continue the dynasty, Clark said. Maybe one day his name will be there next to Jerrys.
Cummings said he as proud of the way his team bounced back from Wednesdays dual-meet loss to Holly Springs, the first for the Imps in conference this year and the first ever to Holly Springs.
This is great for our teams morale after Wednesday, Cummings said.
Mulligans 6-1 decision provided Cary with the enough points at 209 to clinch the title, although more matches had to sort out before Cary could exhale. Mulligan said his goal is to make this a comeback season after a disappointing sophomore campaign. He failed to place in last years Adams tournament.
Ive stepped up my training this year, he said. Ive lifted more weights and Ive worked harder in the room.
Cary 182-pounder Alex Zuniga also racked up team points en route to the finals, where he suffered a 4-2 loss in overtime to Sandersons Matthew Norby.
One other Southwest Athletic Conference wrestler in the finals was Panther Creeks Matthew Powell. He finished as the runner-up at 220 pounds with a 6-3 loss to Sandersons Antwuan Elliott.