State wrestling powers Croatan and Dixon each took one of the two mats for the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A dual meet tournament Thursday night at Farmville Central’s gym.
On one mat, it was business as usual as Dixon jumped out to an early lead en route to a 48-30 victory over Farmville Central.
But on the other mat, Carrboro grabbed everyone’s attention winning three of the first five matches in the lower weight classes for a 14-9 lead. The lead was still 14-12 through six of the 14 weight classes, but Croatan’s depth and experience soon gained control of the match and finished with a 51-14 victory.
“We got wins where I expected and I thought we could win a couple of close matches,” Carrboro coach Dewitt Driscoll said. “We knew we had to get bonus points from technical falls and majors, and we did. But we’re a young team and their experience helped them in the close matches.”
Two one-point decisions went the way of Croatan. Once Croatan had clinched the win, Driscoll forfeited the final two matches to preserve athletes that he said were “banged up” for upcoming individual regional and state tournaments.
The meet started with Croatan recording a pin in the first match at 113 pounds, but Carrboro junior Otto Wolin followed with a win at 120 pounds. His technical fall by a 16-0 score was worth five points to trim the deficit to 6-5.
Sophomore David Veltri was next at 126 pounds with another 16-0 technical fall for a 10-6 lead. Croatan followed with a decision for three team points before Carrboro senior Dante Veltri won at 138 pounds by an 11-3 major decision for a 14-9 lead.
It was the third year Carrboro advanced to at least the third round.
“We’re still a young team with only two seniors,” Driscoll said. “We don’t have a lot of depth for dual meets. We only have 13 kids and the other three teams here have 20 or 30 kids. So we have a lot of focus on individuals. We’re looking to make some noise in the regionals and state tournaments.”
Dante Veltri is about to finish a career that includes an inspiring two-year comeback from missing his sophomore year with lymphoma.
“I’m in my best wrestling shape ever,” Dante said. “I’m feeling really good right now. I feel good about my weight class. I just have to keep attacking and getting better. Out team came up a little short tonight, but I think we can still come through.”
Driscoll also highlighted the improvement of Wilon and David Veltri. They caught the attention of Croatan Coach Rick Perry.
“We knew they had some tough kids,” Perry said. “They have good coaches and wrestle a good style. They have some tough kids.”