For Cary’s senior duo of Delante Robinson and Nate Kinsey, the focus now turns to individual wrestling glory.
Both remained undefeated on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough as the host Imps suffered their first loss of the season with a 33-30 defeat at the hands of Laney in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A East dual-team final.
Cary (24-1) had reached the 4A East final with a 38-34 third-round victory over Riverside earlier Thursday, but the Imps dug themselves too deep a hole early on against the Wilmington-based Buccaneers, losing seven of the first 10 matches. Laney, a 35-31 winner over Cape Fear earlier in the third round, will host defending state champion West Forsyth on Saturday in the 4A title match.
Robinson and Kinsey were among Cary’s individual winners against Laney. Robinson won by a 6-3 decision over Austin Nalley in a 145-pound match while Kinsey prevailed by a 15-6 decision over Khalil Tucker in a 160 bout.
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Robinson is 39-0 and ranked second in the state in 4A at 145, while Kinsey is 41-0 and ranked second at 152. Both next compete at regionals in Knightdale on Feb. 10-11 and then the state championships on Feb. 16-18.
“I’m very ready, I’ve been waiting for this chance at a state title since I have ever started wrestling,” said Robinson, a state qualifier last year at 138. “This is my one chance to actually prove myself and win a state title.”
Robinson feels he has been much more aggressive than in the past, the primary reason in his mind for his ascension into legitimate state-title contender.
“I’m a lot better at being determined to get what I want in the match,” Robinson said. “I really go after it now.”
Kinsey went 1-2 at 152 in last year’s state tournament, admittedly hurt by a tough draw. He says increased dedication toward his offseason work has been the catalyst behind his impressive season.
“I didn’t stop in the offseason,” Kinsey said. “I kept going to tournaments, like the Super 32 Challenge where I went up against the guy ranked 11th in the country (Kyle Cochran of Paramus High School in New Jersey) and lost by a minor.
“Admittedly I wasn’t going to score much on him but going up against a guy like him who ended up winning it, it boosted my confidence and it’s kept me going the whole year.”
While Kinsey and Robinson are both seniors, much of Cary’s lineup is comprised of quite a few younger wrestlers who have several years of scholastic competition ahead of them.
It was that fact that made Thursday’s loss to Laney a little easier to swallow for Cary coach Taylor Cummings.
“Laney’s a very solid team, but I don’t subscribe to the idea that we got buzzsawed or anything,” Cummings said. “I think it hurt us starting off at 132 and losing by a pin, that kind of put us in a hole. ... Our team is so young, we really just building up this team. Next year, we’re going to be even stronger in my opinion. I can’t be too disappointed with how our underclassmen have performed.”
Cary tops Riverside
By Dan E. Way
Riverside coach Brandon Palmer remained excited that his Pirates are still scrapping like a backyard brawl with Cary even though the Imps knocked his team out of the 4A state dual-team wrestling tournament 38-34 Thursday night.
“We have a lot of freshmen who have never ever been in a big match like that. Tuesday was a good match, but nothing like this 25-year-old rivalry,” Palmer said. “We’ll be going into the same conference next year so they’ll experience this more.”
Palmer knows a thing or two about the spirited rivalry. He was a big part of the series when he wrestled at Riverside, earning a pair of state titles and setting the then-North Carolina high school record for career wins.
And given that breadth of experience, he knew what to expect Thursday when his No. 3 seed Pirates took on undefeated No. 1 seed Cary.
Even though Riverside (24-4) had not lost a dual match since before Christmas, “I think we understood that we were looking up through a tunnel as far as match-up wise. They came to our tournament, they won our tournament, and we got runner-up. So we knew what we were dealing with,” Palmer said.
Cary earned bonus points in six matches, with four pins, a technical fall, and a major decision. Riverside got bonus points in three matches, with two pins and a major. Palmer said giving up those bonus points, and not earning some where they could have, was the difference in the outcome.
“This thing that we’re feeling here, hopefully it’s in practice tomorrow” as motivation for the upcoming individual regionals and states, Palmer said. “I think there were a few guys on our team that might have needed that wake-up call. This makes it personal to a man … Every one of those guys knows they still have a personal mission, and they can still vindicate themselves.”
Riverside 138-pounder Asante Boler picked up a first period pin over Quinn Dunphy, and 285-pound teammate Michael Farrish clamped Jordan Glover in a doozy of a match.
Boler hit a nifty bear hug lift and returned Dunphy to the mat for a takedown, and got his pin off a second takedown when he pushed Dunphy’s head to the mat, spun behind and tossed the Imp to his back.
Farrish was trailing 6-3 after the first period, having been bear hugged to his back in a five-point move after his headlock attempt on Glover slipped. He fell behind 8-4 in the second period after another headlock attempt failed and he got taken down. But he bullrushed Glover for a takedown and back points and led 9-8 going into the final period. He then whipped Glover to his back for a takedown, sank a half and underhook and decked the Imp with 12 seconds left.
Jaden Davis racked up a 20-8 major decision over Cary’s Dontay Turner at 195. Davis put on a takedown clinic, blasting to five takedowns in the first period. He picked up three back points on a far-side cradle and hit another takedown in the second period, and added two more takedowns in the final period.
Riverside 132-pounder Noah Jacobs beat Conrad Schiess 7-4. After giving up a takedown in the first period, he escaped and hit a duck under from his knees to go up 3-2. He escaped and used a single-leg lift for another takedown in the second period, which he led 5-4. Starting neutral in the final period, Jacobs countered a Schiess attempt for one more takedown.
At 152, the Pirates’ D’Anthony Bright was superior from his feet, scoring six takedowns in a 12-6 win over Ryan Wolfram. He repeatedly stuffed leg shots by Wolfman and spun behind.
With the match locked up, Cary forfeited to Riverside’s Josh Cox at 113 and Jalen Adams at 120.