Holly Springs wrestling falls short to Jack Britt in 4A East final

mblake@newsobserver.comFebruary 6, 2014 

— Holly Springs’ best season in wrestling ended in the 4A East final on Thursday night. The Golden Hawks kept it close with Fayetteville Jack Britt, ranked No. 2 in the state, before falling 40-16.

Holly Springs (37-3) defeated Sanderson (16-2) 34-25 in the third-round match preceding the East final, while Britt handled previously unbeaten Wilmington Laney 50-10.

“I thought everyone wrestled good and tough,” said Holly Springs coach Brandon Inge. “(Britt) is just crazy good at the (lighter weights). … They proved they were the best in the East tonight.

“To finish top-four in the state is a testament to our guys how much work we put in. It’s years of work, not just this season, to get to this point. It’s a good feeling, but there’s always that extra step we want to take.”

All three of Holly Springs’ losses this season were to teams who will be playing in Saturday’s dual-team championship – Eden Morehead, Winston-Salem Parkland and Jack Britt.

The match started in the 145-pound classs and the Golden Hawks had narrow losses by Cam Devers (11-5) and Nick Connochie (4-2 in overtime).

Holly Springs pulled ahead 10-6 with a 14-1 win by Daniel Richardson, an 8-1 win by Travain Cooke and a 9-7 overtime victory by Austin Galati.

The lead was 13-9 after C.J. Toogood won 3-2 at 220 pounds.

“I’ve seen my team get progressively better throughout the years. It just feels great. We’re closer to where we need to be,” Cooke said. “This is one of the top two teams in the state. We couldn’t have asked for a better team to dual against.”

Jack Britt still had six wrestlers ranked in the state remaining while Holly Springs had just one. The Hawks’ Joseph Meyers won 13-6 at 126 pounds, but that was it for the remaining matches.

Earlier in the night, Sanderson (16-2) equaled its longest postseason run in school history by making it to the third round. The Spartans’ only two losses this year were to Holly Springs.

Sanderson picked up wins from Matt Norby (6-5), C.J. Grannan (14-4), Antwuan Elliott (pin), Adam Alhorani (6-1), Adam DeRose (11-6) and the final bout that was forfeited.

“We’ve made the playoffs and advanced in the playoffs the last several years,” Sanderson coach Jeremy Barefoot said. “We’re still a pretty young team, so I’m excited about the future.”

Against the Spartans, Holly Springs’ winners were Cam Devers (pin), Nick Connochie (9-3), John Cox (16-4), Daniel Richardson (6-1), Cooke (15-2), Toogood (pin), Aaron Redus (15-0) and Meyers (7-3).

Jack Britt will wrestle at Parkland, winners of seven straight dual-team titles, on Saturday in a 4A championship rematch from a year ago.

Other action: Carrboro made it to the 2A East final in thrilling fashion before falling to Holly Ridge Dixon (a 36-30 winner against Newport Croatan) by a 63-9 score.

Carrboro and Farmville Central had tied 34-34 and had to use the eighth tiebreaking critera – most “first points” to advance a winner.

Cameron Union Pines fell to eventual 3A East champ Eden Morehead 31-25. Morehead then defeated Swansboro (a 32-25 winner against West Carteret) 31-26.

Chatham Central defeated one-loss Rosewood 40-30 for the 1A East title.

Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps

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