Published: Feb 19, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Feb 19, 2013 03:58 PM
Rebounding after a defeat can be a difficult thing to do, especially when that defeat ends all hope of defending a state championship.
But that is exactly the task that awaits Orange and Chapel Hill high school wrestlers.
Orange was eliminated from the NCHSAA state dual-team playoffs last week by Eden Morehead High School, 34-31 – the first time any of the current Orange wrestlers have experienced a loss anywhere short of the state finals.
The Feb. 12 defeat wasn’t as close as the final score suggests as Morehead forfeited the final three matches.
“It was tough because you know our guys have been fortunate the last couple years to be in the finals,” Orange coach Bobby Shriner said. “It was hard because we try to do our best every time and we just fell a little short.”
Morehead went on to reach the 3A championship round, where it fell to Fred T. Foard in the final.
While the NCSHAA names two teams as state champion every year in each division – one from the dual team tournament and the other from the individual tournament – Shriner said the dual-team tournament carries more weight with him.
“Well, once you finish your dual-team, it’s tough to put a lot of stock in the dual-team as well as the individual. (But…) really I would say we put more stock in the dual team,” Shriner said. “I mean, once it’s over you prepare for the individual and regionals and states, so it is a little different.”
Shriner added that while in the individual tournament he’ll likely have all 14 of his starters competing and trying to earn points for the team, in the dual team tournament it is a complete team effort.
Though the Panthers did not “three-peat” as dual-team champions, they can still defend the title they won in the individual tournament last season.
The regional rounds for Orange and CHHS are Feb. 22-23 back at Eden Morehead, and the state finals are Feb. 28- March 1 in Greensboro.
For Orange’s 2012 team that went 23-0 and swept both state titles, 11 wrestlers finished in the top-four spots in the regionals to secure a place in the state finals. But Shriner has just three wrestlers on this year’s 17-2 team that placed in the state last season.
“Jack Twomey-Kozak was third in the state, Anderson Pope was fifth and David Peters-Logue was fifth,” Shriner said. “So hopefully those guys and hopefully some other guys will make it (to states) and get a chance to do the same.”
Last season’s dominant Orange team was led by a core of nine seasons though, who are no longer with the team. If this year’s team is to repeat, those chances lay largely on the shoulders of the underclassmen that watched their teammates succeed last season. Shriner said, based on win-loss records, that he expects all 14 of his starters to qualify for the regional round of the individual state tournament.
Places in the individual regionals are based strictly by won-lost percentages of the wrestlers. Seeds are decided at a coaches meeting the night before the tournament starts.Chapel Hill High School
Chapel Hill High School, which fell at West Brunswick in the first round of the dual-team tournament, has six individuals with winning records who have little trouble of getting a good seed in the regionals: Arthur Colson (34-7), Tommy Morrison (30-15), freshman Robert Price (22-14), Andrew Hotong (20-13), sophomore Erik Jens (17-15) and Joe Carter (18-14).
Carrboro’s young program could be poised to make its best showing ever in the championships. At least six Jaguars have records that could be could enough for places in the tournament: Carpenter George (27-4), McKay Carson (22-8), Callaham-Bishop Sergei (20-15), Veltri Dante (28-8), Dreher Stephen (19-4) and Davis Trenton (19-10)
East Chapel Hill has three wrestlers with solid winning percentages: Masai White (28-11), Armond Berry (25-10) and Cole Jenson (18-12).