High School Wrestling:
Published: Dec 08, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Dec 08, 2012 04:34 PM
CHAPEL HILL - Chapel Hill wrestling has been taking the path less traveled so far this year, and CHHS coach Tripp Price likes where it’s taking the Tigers.
Chapel Hill has eschewed some local tournaments in high school wrestling’s early season, choosing instead to head to other invitationals where the Tigers are likely to go against, or at least see, some of the 3A teams and individuals they are likely to run into during the post-season.
"This is exciting," Price said last week as he prepped his team for a trip to this weekend’s Mount Pleasant Powerade Invitational in Cabarrus County.
"It’s been some good, fundamental stuff. We have a great opportunity this year."
Price has alternated taking his team east and west in the first weeks of the season.
Last weekend, when several area teams were in Hillsborough for Orange High School’s 32nd annual Jim King Invitational - won by 4A Cary - Chapel Hill was at 3A West Johnston for a series of duals. The Tigers will wrestle 3A defending champion Orange later this season as part of their Carolina 3A Conference schedule.
This weekend, the Tigers will bypass the Bull Durham Classic at nearby 4A Durham Jordan and head to 3A Mt. Pleasant. Next weekend, instead of the popular Sgt. Mark Adams Invitational at Cary, Chapel Hill will be heading down to the Beast of the East at Croatan.
Chapel Hill split a pair of midweek matches at Raleigh Leesville Road’s duals on Wednesday.
Chapel Hill lost a close decision with the hosts from Leesville Road, 37-35, and then came back to down Middle Creek 54-24.
The Tigers performed well, especially against Middle Creek, despite some handicaps. Joe Carter (152 pounds) was fighting the flu as well as his opponent from Middle Creek. Jesse Chen (170) was feeling the effects of a sore ankle.
Price saw something good in even the close loss to The Pride.
"We competed, and we got some valuable experience," he said. "We’re very young this year."
Chapel Hill’s roster of 29 wrestlers features 16 freshmen, Price noted. The Tigers also have a senior, Baxter Fricks (152), in his first year of varsity wrestling.
Wednesday’s matches were the first time this year that Chapel Hill brought its full, final roster to an event, Price said. Recently finished with football, Cole Thienes just joined the team at 170 pounds.
With just one week of wrestling practice under his belt, Thienes fought off Leesville Road’s Casey Burns until getting pinned with 6 seconds left in the final, decisive bout of their teams’ match.
Price is upbeat about having former state champion and All-American Jared Campbell back in the fold. Campbell led the East Chapel Hill program before returning to Chapel Hill High School as a civics teacher and now helps coach the Tigers.
"He is doing a great job with our kids," Price said. "He understands what it’s all about. It’s a blessing to have him here."
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