WENDELL — Two-and-a-half minutes into his 170-pound match with Claytons Chad Sprouse, Knightdale junior Brandon Skinner pinned his opponent to the mat. Less than two minutes later, his twin brother Bradley had won his 182-pound match in identical fashion.
The Skinner twins arent usually far apart. On Saturday, a seasons worth of brotherly sparring culminated in a pair of first-place finishes in the Greater Neuse River 4A wrestling tournament, as well as a Most Outstanding Wrestler honor for Brandon.
Theyre all business when they step on the mat, Knightdale head coach Kenny Watkins said of the Skinner brothers. We have a motto: this isnt a leisure trip, its a business trip. They kind of take it to heart.
Watkins Knights finished second in team points to West Johnston, who featured six of the tournaments 14 first-place wrestlers. Tony Jimenezthe Wildcats 106-pound champion and the conferences Wrestler of the Yearwas the only wrestler not named Skinner to record a pin in the tournaments final round.
The Knights, who were tangled with Harnett Central in a race for second place, counted heavily upon the efforts of its two most dominant wrestlers. After Knightdales Bobby Samuels earned a 7-1 victory in his 132-pound match, the Skinners knew what was needed of them.
We had high expectations for them, Watkins said after the tournament. We needed them to take pins in the finals. Thats what we needed of them because we were in a dogfight to take second in the tournament.
The Skinners delivered. Brandons pin of Sprouse came after 2:32 had elapsed, while Bradleys pin of East Wakes Markus Mayner occurred when the match was only 49 seconds old. Bradley, the agreed upon bigger twin who wrestles in a 12-pound heavier weight class, applauded his brother as he accepted the plaque awarded to the tournaments Most Outstanding Wrestler.
The brothers would not let on as to which Skinner holds the upper hand in their many practice battles, but Coach Watkins confirmed that the two go at it daily.
Last year, they were very timid to wrestle each other, Watkins said. This year, theyve really gotten after each other hard, and theyve started to turn the corner. Their conditioning has gotten better, theyve gotten stronger and technique-wise theyve gotten a lot better.
The Skinners accounted for two of Knightdales three victories in the final round, helping the Knights finish ahead of Garner, who was represented twice in finals victories, and the likes of Harnett Central, Clayton and Southeast Raleigh, each of whom featured just one first-place finisher.
Garners championships came from Mason Crawford at 113, in a 6-5 win over Wests Justin Lumpkin and Aschalew Teka at 120.
West Johnstons Raheem Simmons won at 126, while teammate Bryan Crutchfield was a 7-0 victor against Southeast Raleighs Darius Washington at 138. Leo Barber (145) and George Nathaniel (145) kept the wins coming for the Wildcats.
Michael Lines gave Clayton a conference champion at 160.
Sam Campbell of West (220) and Southeasts Josh Mack (285) rounded out the rundown of individual champions. Mack beat Knightdales Tyler Palochak 1-0 for his title.
For the Skinner twins, the entire West Johnston squad and a handful of other medalists, the Greater Neuse River 4A wrestling tournament went particularly well.