NEWPORT — Corinth Holders needed a perfect night Thursday in the third round of the 2A dual team wrestling playoffs against state power Newport Croatan. The Pirates gave a great effort but not a perfect one, falling 37-35 to the Cougars.
In just its third year, the Pirates’ wrestling program posted a 38-5 dual record but saw its season end at the hands of a team that was ranked No. 1 in the state entering the playoffs.
Croatan (31-4) has been in the state finals the past three seasons, winning titles in 2010 and 2011.
“We had to catch a lot of breaks tonight,” said Corinth Holders coach Eric Wischhusen. “When you’re wrestling the No. 1 ranked team in the state, that’s usually the position you’re in. If everybody wrestled perfect tonight, all 14 guys, we had a real chance.
“But that very rarely happens in any match, much less one on this level. We had to get everything just right. The guys did a lot of great things but not enough against a team like Croatan.”
Corinth Holders was right where it wanted to be after seven matches when 106-pound entry Darius Dunn grabbed a second-period pin of Croatan’s Ben Skiba using a strong chest-to-chest takedown to get Skiba’s shoulders on the mat at 3:07, tying the match at 17-all.
Dunn stands 49-3 on the season entering next weekend’s individual regionals.
“Darius Dunn has been a standout all year with his effort and how much he’s progressed as a second year wrestler,” Wischhusen said. “He’s been a stud all year for us and he was again tonight.”
However, the Cougars showed why they’ve dominated 2A team and individual wrestling over the past half decade over the next three matches.
Grayson Millis worked his way to a third-period pin of the Pirates’ Dustin Brennan at 113 points, then Dustin McCaw followed with a first-period pinfall win over Blake Grindstaff, pushing the Croatan lead to 29-17 suddenly.
Alex Bray followed with a 6-2 decision (over Cameron Brewer) at 126 and the Cougars were a pin away from a spot in the regional final.
Austin Meaney came through for Croatan with a third-period pin, his team’s fourth third-period pin or technical fall of the night, clinching the win by upping the Cougars’ lead to an insurmountable 38-17 with just three matches remaining.
Corinth Holders’ wrestlers Tyler Johnson (138), Tyler Sigler (145) and Matt Duncan (152) took forfeit wins to finish off the match.
“The score’s a lot better than it was last year (a 53-17 loss in the second round),” Wischhusen said. “We gave this team everything they could want for a long time. You win this one and you’re looking at a shot at a regional championship or maybe a trip to the state finals.”
Anthony Scott won a tight 9-7 win over Corinth Holders’ Charlie Gray at 160 to start the match, and then Andrew Colborn notched a technical fall with just six seconds left in his match for an early 8-0 lead.
William Floyd pinned Croatan’s Isaac Edgren at the 4:08 mark of the 182-pound match before Kyle Colborn answered with a quick pin at 195.
Elijah Harris (43-4) nabbed a technical fall at 220 for the Pirates before Johnathon Rigsby edged the Pirates’ Chris Solano 3-2 in the heavyweight bout.
Croatan defeated Hampstead Topsail 43-28 late Thursday night in the regional championship match. Topsail had defeated North Pitt 43-28 in the other eastern semifinal contested Thursday evening.
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