High School Sports

Cary defeats Laney and Cape Fear wrestling in NCHSAA playoffs

Cary wrestling is back in the regional semifinals with a chance to make some noise. The struggles to start the season without key starters has been forgotten.

The Imps crushed Wilmington’s Laney High 55-24 in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team tournament before rolling past Fayetteville’s Cape Fear High, the host school, 53-18.

Cape Fear had nipped Southern Pines’ Pinecrest High 33-32 in the first round in a battle that came down to the final bout, which the Colts lost but only gave up three team points to preserve the win.

Cary (31-3) had 15 pins in the 26 bouts it wrestled (the Imps forfeited two weight classes against Cape Fear), an encouraging sign given the number of bouts that appeared to be “toss-up” matches.

“We looked a bit slow starting off,” Cary coach Taylor Cummings said. “But we got better as we went along.”

Cary got its usual big points from defending state champion Will Clark and state-ranked Kollin Wade, Reid Stewart, Enrique Zuniga and Tra Shaw. But there were others who joined in to make sure the Imps rolled through the first two rounds.

Cummings said sophomore Joe Grenna, who won twice at 195 pounds despite being moved up a weight, was one of those who stood out.

“Some of our guys who are coming into the fold got some nice wins,” Cummings said.

Cary will face reigning 4A East champ Jack Britt on Thursday. Conference foe Holly Springs is on the other side of the bracket, facing Riverside.

It will be a tall order for Cary to advance, but with the right breaks – like some wrestlers getting big points while others make sure to stay off their backs – Cummings thinks his team could have an outside shot. Cary is no stranger to facing the Buccaneers, including a loss in last year’s second round that was closer than the score indicated.

“Britt has really been a thorn in our side the last few years now,” he said. “But we really have wrestled some of our best matches against them.”