Chapel Hill 195-pounder Bradley Kenyon scooped up Orange wrestler Jamar Davis in a slick single leg that he converted into a powerful double-leg lift, and seemed in control of the bout heading into the second period.
But Kenyon got high with his one-on-one wrist ride, allowing Davis to create some separation between them and come standing. He reached back and collared Kenyon’s neck, and hammered him with a hip toss for a reversal and three near fall points, and that was the pivot point in their showdown, which Davis won 8-2 in an otherwise evenly matched contest.
And so it went for the Tigers, showing a scrappy demeanor, but coming up short a few times too many.
They won six individual bouts, three by pin, but dropped eight to Orange, which recorded five falls and laid claim to the Big 8 3A Conference title, 42-27. Both teams will advance to the state team duals on Tuesday.
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Orange coach Bobby Shriner was awarded a plaque in a post-match ceremony for winning his 600th career match over the weekend.
“I knew it was going to be close. Those guys wrestled their hearts out for Chapel Hill,” Shriner said of the cross-county showdown. “It could have gone either way. Just the match-ups, I knew it was going to be tough.”
“At 152, those were two tough guys. We got caught there and got pinned. It was huge,” Shriner said of the one match that didn’t turn out the way he expected.
In that bout, the first of the evening, the Tigers’ Matthew Minnick got a second period pin with six seconds showing on the clock to push Chapel Hill to the early 6-0 lead.
Other Chapel Hill wrestlers who clamped their opponents were Jesus Banda at 182, and Zin Maung at 113.
“I thought our kids went out there and competed. I thought they wrestled really hard. They pushed all their matches. We had some young kids get stuck, but we made it come down to the end,” said Chapel Hill coach Tripp Price.
“I thought at 195 Bradley had a good shot [but] got caught in that whip and gave up 5. We were in that match, and stayed in that match even after giving up that big move,” Price said. As a team, “We really pushed the pace, and tried to make it happen.”
Orange picked up pins from Mitchell Askew at 106, Levi Anderson at 138, Avery Jenkins at 145, Josiah Ramirez at 170, and Payton Wilson at 220. Wilson needed only seven seconds to tackle Daniel Gonzalez straight to his back and flatten him.
In one of the wilder bouts of the evening, which brought both coaches to the scoring table to question or dispute calls, Orange 285-pounder Daylen Alston outlasted Joseph Cannon, 9-7 in double overtime. They ended regulation tied 5-5.
There was no takedown in the sudden victory round. Cannon, who normally wrestles 220, caught a leg and reversed Alston in the first overtime period, but gave up a penalty point for stalling. He let Alston come standing in the second overtime period, confident he could get a takedown, but Alston stuffed a single-leg attempt and spun behind at the buzzer for the winning takedown.
Another barnburner went in Chapel Hill’s favor when 126-pounder Samuel Gunning nicked Mitchell Lopeman 10-9. They were tied 4-4 after the first period, and 8-8 after the second.
In the final period Lopeman got too high with his leg ride, Gunning caught his head and snapped him to the mat for a reversal. Lopeman earned an escape, but was unable to get a winning takedown in the final 10 seconds.
In an earlier match, Orange beat Southern 72-12. Southern forfeited 10 weights and Orange forfeited one. In the three contested bouts, Orange 120-pounder Gavin Wiggins and teammate 170-pounder Josiah Ramirez both picked up first period pins. Southern’s Matthew Darby got a pin at 195.