Cary and Leesville Road’s seasons ended at Trask Middle School in Wilmington on Tuesday, in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A dual-team wrestling playoffs.
The first-round matches, held across the street from Laney High, couldn’t have been any more different.
The host Buccaneers crushed Leesville Road 57-17 in the first round, while Cary and Pinecrest went the long haul with Cary eking out a 36-26 victory.
Laney later kept its undefeated season going by ousting Cary 42-27 in the second round.
“Had we wrestled like we did against Pinecrest (all year), we go into tonight with just one loss,” Cary coach Taylor Cummings said. “Laney is a super-tough team. They’ve only gotten stronger this year. ... I hate to say it, but there wasn’t a whole lot we could do in that one.”
Leesville Road (35-5) was pinned five times in the first five bouts, falling behind 30-0. The Pride got wins from Jason Mills, Dan Mills, Cade Collins and Christian Bascom.
“The program’s heading in the right direction. We had a tough draw with Laney coming down here in their house. Their fans were into it, they got on a roll and it was like we got steamrolled. But I look at the year as a very big success,” Leesville coach Jason Wyss said. “I appreciate what they did by wrestling all the way through because sometimes they’ll get up and forfeit out and the kids you bring don’t get a chance to wrestle. That was a classy act by (Laney) coach (Dan) Willis.”
On the other mat, Cary (21-6) and Pinecrest (23-5) were deadlocked in a marathon match that lasted 40 minutes longer than Leesville-Laney. Pinecrest took a 22-12 lead but Cary got back in it with three straight wins (tech fall, major decision, minor decision) to take a 24-22 lead with three bouts to go.
Pinecrest was up by two when Cary’s Alex Zuniga earned a pin to put the Imps up 30-26 with one bout to go.
Wake Forest took out Cap-8 foe Millbrook 45-22 for a spot in the 4A East semifinals. Millbrook (18-6) had defeated Northern Durham (19-10) 42-36 in the first round while host Wake Forest (19-4) ousted Richmond County 36-33.
Facing defending 4A champ Jack Britt, Person (14-7) fell 74-6 in the first round in Fayetteville while Rolesville (16-12) lost 54-26 to New Bern.
Thursday’s 4A East semifinals will include Jack Britt (13-0), Laney (31-0), Holly Springs (38-4) and Wake Forest at a site to be determined.
Cleveland (19-9) experienced both sides of an emotional pendulum as the Rams grabbed the school's first-ever dual-team victory in the first round over C.B. Aycock 45-36 before running into a buzzsaw and bowing out in the second round to Havelock 72-10 immediately thereafter.
“For these guys to take second in the conference winning a huge match at Corinth Holders last week and to come in here and win the first ever state dual match in school history, I couldn't be more proud,” Cleveland coach Kenneth Watkins said.
In a thrilling match going down to the final bout, Eden’s undefeated Morehead High (15-0) fended off Orange 31-29. Orange (25-2) had defeated Big 8 foe Chapel Hill (17-7) 53-20 in the first round.
Host Western Harnett (17-7) lost in the second round to Asheboro after defeating Rockingham County in the first round. Union Pines (11-7) was upended by Asheboro in the first round.
Northwood (26-4) fell to powerful West Brunswick 53-28 at a match in Swansboro. West Brunswick, Asheboro, Havelock and Morehead will play in the 3A East semifinals.
In the second round, Carrboro (17-7) defeated host South Granville (23-4) 40-27 to advance to the 2A East semifinals along with Newport’s Croatan, Farmville Central and Holly Ridge’s Dixon High.
Franklinton (12-10) fell 39-36 to Wheatmore.
Voyager Academy (10-23) fell to Rocky Point’s Trask 45-30, which then beat Tarboro 41-27. Chatham Central (9-15) lost to Rosewood 50-21.
Thursday’s 1A East semifinals will be South Davidson, Trask and South Stanly at Rosewood.
David Justice, Michael Held and Jeff Hamlin contributed.