Princeton wrestling coach Terry Braswell wasn’t too concerned after watching two of his top wrestlers absorb disappointing semifinal round losses to close out the first day of competition in the NCHSAA 1A eastern regional wrestling tournament.
“You have to wrestle ‘up’ here,” Braswell said after the Bulldogs qualified three individuals to this week’s state championships in Greensboro. “You can’t wrestle ‘down’.”
Along with that, he told Princeton’s 126-pounder Michael Daughtry and 285-pounder Matthew Peedin they would be joining him and 160-pounder Jesse TomleJenovich at the Greensboro Coliseum as participants, not spectators.
Fueled by the knowledge they were still in the hunt to qualify for the state tournament, along with Braswell’s reassuring words, Daughtry and Peedin punched their tickets to Greensboro with victories in the consolation semifinals Sunday afternoon at Rosewood High School.
Daughtry, who had fallen 17-1 to top-seeded James Daggett of Chatham Central, rebounded from that Saturday night loss to dominate Rosewood’s Nick Martin, 4-0.
Daughtry will be a No .4 seed from the east in the state tournament after a loss to second-seeded Grant Plyler of Albemarle in the consolation finals and despite the loss to Plyler, Daughtry was upbeat about his effort.
“I had a better weekend , “ Daughtry said, “I had to show I had the ability o make it to the states. And I dd. I had more confidence than I did Saturday.”
Daughtry said Braswell told him and Peedin that they had to come back Sunday and work hard, for he wasn’t going to take just one wrestler to Greensboro: they were a family.
Peedin, who tried to out-muscle top-seeded Jervon Faison of Heide Trask before dropping a pin fall defeat, needed only 30 seconds before sticking the shoulders of Colby Robinson from East Montgomery In the consolation semis to claim his berth.
Peedin dropped a pin to Rosewood’s Kaleb Taylor in the consolation finals, and like Daughtry, will be a No. 4 seed in Greensboro.
“It comes with more experience,” Peedin said. “I’m a senior and he’s just a sophomore. I guess you just have to know what you have to do.”
Peedin admitted he wasn’t going to let the loss in the semifinals upset him, saying he would keep his focus and concentrate on getting third place.
“They (Daughtry and Peedin) knew they had to bring it today,” Braswell said. “They brought it.”
Bringing it on Saturday was TomleJenovich, who outlasted South Davidson’s Ty Varner, 5-4 in overtime in the quarterfinals and Manteo’s Walker Parks, 3-0 in the semis to seal his spot at the state. He fell to Rosewood’s Kaleb Smith 2-1 in the championship bout.
At the 2A eastern regional at Farmville Central, senior Eric Joyner was North Johnston’s most successful entrant. Joyner bowed out in the consolation semifinals, missing out on a state tournament berth by one victory. He finished the season with a 30-8 record.