FARMVILLE — For Darius Dunn, the realization he would be going down in Corinth Holders wrestling history was worth all of the time and effort of the past year.
Dustin Brennan was moved to tears, Cameron Brewer credited strength and conditioning and Elijah Harris celebrated with a single clap of his hands.
Those were just a few of the range of emotions expressed by the quartet of individuals qualifying for the Pirates to this week’s NCHSAA 2A wrestling championships. Those berths were earned Saturday through the 2A eastern regional at Farmville Central High
Dunn, a junior 106-pounder became the first wrestler in the short three-year history of the Pirates’ wrestling program to claim an individual regional crown, rolling to a relatively easy 15-7 victory over Swansboro’s top-seeded Bryan Mol in their title bout.
Using a trio of swift, single-leg takedowns, Dunn raced to a 6-2 lead by the end of the first period, then countered every counter attack by Mol to cruise to the title.
“It feels good to be going down in history as the first wrestler at Corinth Holders to do this,” Dunn said after winning the championship and earning the East’s No. 1 seed at the state meet, scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Greensboro Coliseum.
“I’m satisfied with the regional championship, but I’m not fully satisfied until I win the states. It feels like all the practice has paid off,” said Dunn, who is 55-3 on the season. “I worked hard all season to cut out the simple mistakes which hurt me last year.”
Brennan, Brewer and Harris had to overcome disappointing efforts in the semifinals, bouncing back with wins in the consolation semifinals to earn their berths.
Brennan, who will enter the state meet as a No. 4 seed at 113, dropped a heart-breaking 5-4 outcome to Croatan’s Grayson Mills, qualified with a 3-1, overtime triumph over Swansboro’s Tyler Henson, on a two-point takedown.
Brennan, who defeated Henson 3-1 in overtime in the state duals, had appeared to score the winning take down twice - once in the waning seconds of regulation, and at the outset of overtime, but was ruled not to have control.
Barely able to contain his tears as he accepted congratulations from coaches, teammates, family and friends, Brennan (52-7) described his emotions.
”It was the biggest win for me,” Brennan said. “And the most important one too, I placed fourth in the regionals last year, and seventh in the state. But I worked hard, and now I am ranked fourth in the state.”
Brewer, who came in as the top seed at 126, also lost a 5-4 semifinals decision, falling to Topsail’s Brandon Britt, but had little trouble in claiming his berth, stopping First Flight’s Jared Decker 8-2.
He will enter as a No. 3 seed with a 46-12 mark after edging Swansboro’s Jacob Butler 6-5 in the consolation finals.
Like Dunn, he credited a solid work ethic and is a previous qualifier, having gone 0-2 in 2011.
“ I practiced hard all year,” Brewer said. “I didn’t take a single day off. I’m getting stronger and more confident every time out.”
Harris, who will also be a 3-seed in Greensboro, dropped a surprising pin fall loss in his 220 semifinal with Topsail’s Joseph Sculthorpe, and almost suffered a similar fate in the consolation semifinals against Clinton’s Tykearion Stevens. Stevens threw Harris with a massive headlock to open the bout, but Harris rolled through, gained a reversal, and then dominated Stevens en route to a 12-4 win.
“That headlock he threw was kind of quick,” Harris said. “ I said to myself, ‘Heck no, I’m not losing like this!’
“It was a big wake-up call. I’m glad I’m going back to the states. It was a good feeling then and I want that feeling to be the same this year.”
Not getting a chance to have that feeling were North Johnston’s Dyllan Creech (132), Eric Joyner (145), and Hunter Stephenson (195) and Corinth Holders’ Matt Duncan (152), Jason Gonzalez (170) and Chris Solano (285) who all saw their state tournament dreams end with consolation semifinal defeats.