Rosewood is on the doorstep of repeating as state 1A wrestling duals champion, and the Eagles are making it look easy against very tough opposition.
Jordan Todd, Louis Tortual and Christian Decatur recorded pins while Timothy Decatur won the highest profile bout of the night after the match was clinched in a 54-12 romp over host Voyager Academy in the Eastern Regional finals.
The final will be on Saturday at Western Regional champion Robbinsville. The Black Knights are stationed near the Tennessee border, a six-hour, one-way trip from Rosewood.
“We had a really good performance in the (Voyager) match,” said long-time Rosewood coach Bill Edmundson, whose team will also try to defend its title in the state 1A individual tournament. “Our guys beat some real quality kids. I thought the final (individual) match was like a state championship final. And Jordan Todd had a really good match. The Uwharrie match was closer than I expected. They did a good job coming back on us in the upper weights, but I thought we held our own in the lower weights.”
Host No. 2 seed Voyager (9-4) had advanced to the final after building a big lead and holding on for a 37-32 victory over South Stanly (20-2) in Thursday’s earlier match. That prevented a rematch between the visiting Rowdy Rebel Bulls and Rosewood, which had ousted them in the third round last season.
Rosewood got pins from Todd – who was state runner-up at 138 last year - at 132, Louis Tortual at 138 and Christian Decatur at 106 in the Voyager match.
“I feel like I was a lot more aggressive,” said the sophomore Todd (42-7). “I had been more passive early in the season. But this was such an important moment for the team I had to pick it up. We just have to keep working hard. I think things are looking good for us as a team, and also in the individuals.”
The last individual match of the final had no bearing on the team outcome, but it proved to be a classic. At 120, the Eagles’ Timothy Decatur, who won the state title at 106 last season as a freshman and was ranked No. 1 in the state in the weight class, won 5-3 in triple overtime over Voyager’s R.J. Whitt, who was third at 113 last season and is ranked No. 2 in the class.
“I’m looking to repeat,” Timothy Decatur said. “I think our team did great tonight. And we’re set up well for the state championship. Coach gave me a choice as to whether or not I wanted to wrestle (Whitt), and I wanted to see what I could do.”
Loc’Quan Gibson scored a pin for the Vikings at 220 while Irving Montgomery and Jacobi Deal picked up Voyager’s other victories against Rosewood.
Rosewood (42-3) beat Uwharrie Charter of Asheboro 39-36 in Thursday’s semifinals. Leading 39-30, the Eagles chose to forfeit at 113.
Rosewood had advanced by crushing visiting Bishop McGuinness 68-6 in the second round on Tuesday night. Uwharrie (28-3), sponsoring a program for the first season under former veteran Southwest Randolph coach Chris Waddell, had advanced by ripping visiting Trask 57-24 in Tuesday’s second round.
Rosewood scored four pins in the Uwharrie match, those coming from Chris Hill at 120, Tortual at 138, Cameron Helt at 195 and Nyterrius Williams at heavyweight.
“I thought we performed pretty well against Uwharrie,” said the senior Helt (27-5), one of five Rosewood grapplers to win twice on Thursday. “Against Voyager we did an outstanding job. I’m just looking forward to us getting another chance to win a championship.”
Voyager had earned the host spot for the regional by beating East Surry 40-30 in the second round on Tuesday night at Chatham Central. South Stanly routed visiting East Carteret 72-6 in the Tuesday’s second round.
Five Voyager wrestlers pinned their Stanly County foes.
R.J. Whitt got the six points at 120, Irving Montgomery at 160, Jacobi Deal at 170, Jacari Deal at 182 and Michael McKenna the clincher at 106.
“We exceeded our goals for the year,” Voyager coach Andy Takla said. “They do everything I say day-in and day-out and you can’t ask for more than that.”