Published: Feb 15, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Feb 13, 2012 07:04 PM
HILLSBOROUGH - Orange High started strong, won all the close matches, and captured its second straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A dual-team wrestling championship with a 34-30 win Saturday night against Southwestern Randolph.
It also was the school's fourth state title in five years, with 2A championships in 2008 and 2009.The final score could have been different. The 23-0 Panthers won eight of the first 10 matches and built a 34-6 lead. With several wrestlers sick and the state individual championships still to be decided, Orange coach Bobby Shriner forfeited the final four matches, adding 24 points to the Cougars' score.
The final score also could have been different if the Panthers had not won two overtime matches and gotten a huge comeback win by a pin by senior Aderric Snipes at 182 pounds.
"A blessing from God," is how Shriner described the win. "We won the close matches and that was the difference. Southwestern's program is a lot like us, tough, hard-nosed kids."
Starting the matches at 138, Orange junior Anderson Pope defeated Troy Hunt 10-1. Then, at 145, senior Zach Rimmer pulled off the Panthers' first miracle. He trailed Justin Anderson most of the way and was behind 5-3 with 30 seconds left in the match. In the closing seconds he took a 7-5 led and then gave back two points to force overtime, where he won with a takedown.
Then at 152, Orange sophomore David Peters-Logue pinned Randy Gardner. Following that, J.D. Wynn got another overtime win for Orange, 8-6 against Dylan Billings.
Southwestern Randolph's Jordan Billings then defeated Cole McLelland 9-4.
Then Snipes earned the most valuable wrestler trophy for his pin of Tyler Robbins. Robbins led 4-0 after the first period, 6-2 after the second and 8-4 in the final period when Snipes suddenly took control. His pin put the Panthers ahead by 22-3.
"We lost two overtime matches and then in a match we were winning, they flip us and get the pin. With some breaks there was a time when the score could have been 18-18," Cougars coach Chris Wadell said. "You've got to have a little bit of luck to win, and we didn't have any."
Shriner was thrilled to see Snipes get the important win.
"He's had his ups and downs, struggled some, but pulled off a great win for our team," Shriner said.
"I lost both of my matches at regionals and was sick (Saturday) morning," Snipes said. "But coach tells us to never give up, and I wasn't going to lose this match."
Jarrel Lea followed Snipes with a win at 195 and Wesley Dawson recorded a first-period pin at 220 as the lead grew to 31-3.
Southwestern Randolph's Jeff Vick won at 285, but then Orange senior Martin Carreon, in only his second year as a wrestler, clinched the state title with a 7-1 win at 106 against Dakota Billings.