Ousted from the N.C. High School Athletics Association dual-team wrestling tournament, Big Eight champion Orange, runner-up Chapel Hill and Mid-State champion Carrboro can find some solace in the knowledge that it took elite teams to eliminate them.
“We are young and have grown by leaps and bounds over the season,” Chapel Hill head coach Tripp Price said, noting that Tommy Morrison was the team’s only senior.
“Coach (Jared) Campbell and Coach (Chase) Kernodle have done a great job of breathing new life into the program. ... We hope to continue to progress.”
Carrboro went farther than any other local team and deeper into the dual-team tournament than the Jaguars ever have been before. Carrboro finished 22-6 after reaching the NCHSAA 2A state semifinals.
Like Chapel Hill and Orange, the Jaguars hosted a four-team sub-regional on Tuesday. Carrboro defeated Trinity Wheatmore 48-21 and South Granville 45-24 before moving onto the next round Thursday at Farmville Central. The Jaguars downed their hosts 35-34 but then fell 63-9 to Topsail Dixon (22-1), which went to Newton-Conover (51-1) Saturday for the 2A final.
Chapel Hill (22-7) lost at home Tuesday to Union Pines (14-4). After collecting a 39-36 win against CHHS, the Vikings went on to defeat Eastern Guilford in a second-round match at Chapel Hill.
Tuesday in Hillsborough, Orange looked strong in its first-round match with Thomasville Ledford and took a 38-19 victory. Orange (25-3) then ran headlong into powerhouse Eden Morehead, which ousted Orange in the second round with a 46-24 decision.
Morehead (37-1), whose only loss this year had been to undefeated 4A super-power Winston-Salem Parkland, went to Union Pines on Thursday and eliminated the Vikings with a 34-25 decision.
Morehead went on to host Saturday’s NCHSAA 3A championship final against Fred Newton Foard (36-3).
Many of the Panthers, like the Jaguars and Tigers, will turn their attention to this week’s NCHSAA individual state championships. Qualifiers will be announced Wednesday. The regionals are Feb. 14-15 at different sites for each classification. The state championships are Feb. 20-22 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
W.E. Warnock, CHN Sports Editor