Prep wrestlers head into dual-team tournament
Seven area teams have qualified for today’s first and second rounds of the state dual-match wrestling tournament, and five will host opening doubleheaders.
The first two rounds, which feature four teams at one site, will be contested tonight.
Hosting tonight will be the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics in 1-A, Northwood in 2-A, Orange in 3-A and Northern and Jordan in 4-A. Matches begin at 6 p.m. except at NCSSM, where competition starts at 5:30 p.m.
All host schools qualified for the dual tournament, which takes place before the start of the more traditional individual tournament. Both tournaments crown state champions, but the dual tournament involves complete team rosters.
The individual tournament involves only individual state qualifiers whose success in preliminary and state final rounds win points for their teams.
Other area dual qualifiers are Carolina 12 Conference regular-season No. 1 Durham School of the Arts and Carolina 6 No. 2 Chapel Hill.
DSA will open 2-A tournament play in Wendell at first/second-round host Corinth Holders. DSA (18-4) is favored in its opener against wild-card qualifier Jacksonville Northside (14-15) of the East Central Conference.
Chapel Hill (14-14) also is on the road tonight, traveling to Cameron and host Union Pines. The Tigers will meet Waccamaw No. 1 West Brunswick (17-5) in its opener.
The DSA-Northside winner will face the winner of Corinth Holders (Northern Carolina No. 1, 33-4) and Swansboro (East Central No. 2, 22-11).
The Chapel Hill-West Brunswick winner will meet the winner of Union Pines (Cape Fear Valley No. 1, 14-8) and Eastern Guilford (Mid-State No. 2, 15-6).
In matches played locally, Jordan (PAC-6 No. 1, 23-6) takes on Cary Panther Creek (Tri-Nine wild card, 18-4), and that winner will take on the winner of Southern Pines Pinecrest (Southeastern No. 1, 21-5) and New Bern (Mideastern No. 2, 25-7). Jordan is hosting a dual playoff for the first time in 22 years.
At Northern, the Knights (PAC-6 No. 2, 27-8) host Wilmington Laney (Mideastern No. 1, 19-4) for a chance to go against the winner of Cary (Tri-Nine No. 1, 17-0) and Wake Forest-Rolesville (Cap Eight wild card, 22-3).
Perennial state power Cary will be the heavy favorite in that four-team showdown.
Orange, which is to 3-A wrestling what Cary is to 4-A, also will be a heavy favorite tonight.
The Panthers (Carolina 6 No. 1, 16-1) host Gray’s Creek (Cape Fear Valley No. 2, 15-7) in the opener, and that winner will face either Eden Morehead (Mid-State No. 1, 17-6) or Wilson Fike (Big East wild card, 24-16) in the nightcap.
Host Northwood (Carolina 12 No. 2, 23-10) will take on cross-county rival Siler City Jordan Matthews (Mid-State No. 2, 13-8). The winner will meet the winner of North Pitt (Eastern Plains No. 2, 21-3) and Bunn (Northern Carolina wild card, 13-8).
Finally, NCSSM (Carolina 12 No. 1, 12-6) hosts Ayden-Grifton (Carolina No. 2, 27-8), then could face the winner of North Rowan (Yadkin Valley No. 1, 24-2) vs. Dixon (Coast Plains No. 2, 21-5).
Tonight’s second-round matches should begin at around 7:30 p.m. except at NCSSM, where 7 p.m. is the estimated start time.
Teams that advance through tonight’s first two rounds will return to action in the third round Thursday night at sites to be determined.
Area independent schools’ conference basketball tournaments get underway this week.
In first-round Triad Athletic Conference play today, the Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill girls host Westchester Country Day at 5 p.m., while the Trinity boys travel to Burlington Christian Academy at 6 p.m.
Also in first-round TAC play, Carolina Friends School hosts a doubleheader with the girls facing American Hebrew Academy of Greensboro at 5:30 p.m. and the boys host Salem Baptist at 7 p.m.
The Durham Academy boys have a bye into the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Association’s semifinals and will play Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Raleigh Ravenscroft, site of the semifinals and finals of the TISAC boys’ and girls’ tournaments.
The DA girls’ tournament status was up in the air pending the outcome of a Monday night game at North Raleigh Christian. A win over NRCA would give DA the league’s No. 2 seed and a bye into Thursday’s semifinals, while a loss would mean the Cavaliers would host Wake Christian Academy today at 6 p.m. in a first-round game.