CHAPEL HILL — Eastern Guilford reeled off seven straight victories to rally by Cleveland for a 37-33 victory in the opening round of the 3A dual team wrestling playoffs Tuesday night.
“We’re disappointed,” said Cleveland coach Scott Riley. “We knew it would come down to a couple of tight matches and those matches went Eastern Guilford’s way. We’ll just regroup and get ready for individual regionals.”
Cleveland, a co-champion from the Two Rivers 3A Conference and a No. 1 playoff seed, built a 33-6 lead early in the match.
The Rams evened the match at 6-all with Cameron Marquess’ pin of Maylic Veale at 113 pounds. Marquess was down 12-8 at the time of the pin with just 27 seconds left in the match.
The pin was a surprise to Riley, who thought the match would come down to the final match, as it did.
Adam Collins followed with a major decision win for Cleveland at 120. Then the Rams picked up forfeit wins from Mathew Cruz-Cruz and Gregory Weaver at 126 and 132 to go up 22-6.
Senior 138-pounder Derrick Applewhite earned a technical fall and Jhavonte Moon picked up an early second period pin against Eastern’s Diego Jimenez.
Eastern Guilford’s string of wins followed. The Rams still led 33-19 in the 182-pound match, which went down the final seconds with state-ranked wrestlers Willie Bivens (Eastern Guilford) and Chanse Wallace trading the scoring advantage throughout the match.
Bivens took a 9-8 triumph.
“The 182 match was a great battle,” Riley said. “They’ve got a guy who’s ranked second in the state and Chanse is ranked seventh. I thought we had it but it just didn’t end up in our favor. Those are two strong wrestlers there.”
A pin and a forfeit at 220 put Eastern Guilford up 34-33 going into the 285-pound match. Corbin Revels held off Cleveland’s Paul Mefford for a 8-7 decision and the match win.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of regionals,” Riley said. “We feel like we’re a better tournament team than we are a dual team.”
The Rams will compete in regionals beginning Friday in Rocky Mount. The top four finishers in each weight class at regionals qualify for the state championships.
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