Panther Creek wins mat title despite 4 Jordan champs
It would be understandable if Jordan mat wizard Robbie Tomasic got a sinking feeling when Alexander Preudhomme of Bishop McGuiness hit him with a single-leg takedown, then trapped Tomasic’s head with his legs for a pair of back points and a 5-3 lead late in the second period.
It was familiar territory. Preudhomme, Tomasic’s nemesis since their sophomore season two years ago when the Bishop MGuiness grappler defeated him in the Bull Durham Holiday Classic finals, was at it again.
He had Tomasic on the ropes in the championship round at 126 pounds on Saturday at that same showcase wrestling tournament on Jordan’s home mats.
But then the Jordan senior came standing for an escape. He hit an improbable takedown at the edge of the mat with just six seconds left. Then he rode Preudhomme tighter than a Latex glove in the final period to come away with a 6-5 victory.
For his efforts in defeating Preudhomme, a runner-up in the 1-A state championship tournament last year, Tomasic, a two-time, 4-A fifth-place finisher, was named winner of the Outstanding Wrestler Award for the tournament, his second consecutive OW trophy.
“I was in the front headlock and instead of having his hand on my chin he reached through to my tricep, so I just came back and just pulled it through and used his momentum to come out behind him,” Tomasic said in describing his somewhat unusual takedown to clinch the title.
“I had to keep him down” the third period, Tomasic said. “I had a couple of matches like that last year, and I know the drilling on top, the repetitiveness gets the muscle memory going in the match so when you’re tired you don’t have to think about it.”
Tomasic was one of four titlists for host Jordan, which finished in second place in the 16-team title chase behind the Panther Creek Catamounts, which had five champs. The other Jordan champs were Wade Clifton (106), Kartaoui Allal (138), and Tyrece Jones (182).
Cedar Ridge, which finished eighth in the team standings, nailed a pair of back-to-back championships from Brendan Way (145) and Adam Howard (152).
Durham School of the Arts finished in fourth place but failed to get a title from either of its finalists. Carrboro sent a pair of wrestlers into the finals but failed to strike gold in finishing 10th overall.
“They’re just tough. They’re experienced a little bit more than we are,” Jordan coach Philip Davanzo said of Panther Creek. The Falcons had their chances to capture the team crown in multiple head-to-head bouts with the Catamounts in winner’s bracket and consolation rounds, but fell short.
Still, Davanzo was pleased with the outcome.
“Since we’ve started the tournament back we’ve never placed second. We’ve placed third and fourth,” Davanzo said. The tournament was revived five years ago after years of dormancy.
“I thought our guys wrestled really well,” he said. “These guys are young, but they work harder than anyone I’ve ever had work in our program.”
While their physical stamina and technique were good, the Falcons were committing mental miscues at last weekend’s Jim King/Orange Invitational in Hillsborough, Davanzo said. So that’s what they went to work on the past week and achieved “a big progression from last week,” he said.
Things didn’t change much for Jordan’s Jones. He got a first-period finals pin for the second weekend in a row after clamping his opponent in the JKO last weekend.
“I’m excited,” Jones said. “All four years I wanted to win this and now I finally did.”
He said he “went out there with a mind set that I could win,” and tried something different against P.J. Veltri of Carrboro.
“I hit my duck-under that I just had learned this off season. Then when I was on top riding him he kind of fell to his hip and I caught him and put him on his back with a half (nelson)” and arm bar for the pin, the 13-0 Jones said.
Clifton, the Jordan junior 106-pounder, had to be the emotional favorite of the finals in eking out a 3-2 win over Mason Morris of Western Harnett. He has traveled a rocky road in his young life, having been a ward of the state, bouncing between foster homes and the streets.
“My freshman year wasn’t the best, so now that I’m able to go out there and win the tournament is really exciting,” a smiling Clifton said.
“My freshman year I was in Durham Social Services so I wasn’t in a home. I had people who were very active in getting me involved in wrestling,” he said.
His middle school coach introduced him to the sport and made sure he got to practice. That continued with coaches driving him back and forth his freshman year. Then he moved in with the Tomasic family, where, he said, he has developed a sense of stability and motivation.
“We don’t wrestle a lot at home, but it’s definitely made me tougher living with them,” Clifton said of life with teammates Robbie and Patrick Tomasic. “I”ve gotten better grades since my freshman year.”
He got passing grades Saturday, too, trailing 2-1 after the first period but coming back to get a second-period reversal before gluing Morris to the mat in the third period and riding out the clock for the 3-2 win.
“I started off pretty nervous and he had a quick takedown on me so I had to keep fighting,” Clifton said. “It was pretty exciting. I hit a switch on him and that’s what got me in the lead, so the two reversal was big.”
At 145, Way, a fifth-place finisher at the tournament last year, won gold for the Red Wolves with a second-period pin over Matt Stober of Panther Creek. Stober had a single-leg hoisted high in the air, but Way got his second fall of the tournament when he slipped in a headlock from that unorthodox position and flipped Stober to his back.
At 152, Howard got another championship for Cedar Ridge with a methodical 7-1 thumping of Diego Terron of DSA.
George Carpenter of Carrboro got knocked off in the 113-pound finals by Shovan Bhatta of Panther Creek by a 15-6 major decision.
At 120 Nathan Allison of Panther Creek picked up a major decision against Spencer Service of Jordan, 18-5, and Nathan Zak of Western Harnett hit a stinging lateral drop to clamp Kenny Jay of Person in the first period at 132.
Jordan’s Allal decisioned Chris Duckworth of Green Hope 10-5 at 138, Dakota Roberts of Western Harnett worked a pancake into a double overhook to pin Luke Uhlik of Middle Creek at 160, and Cameron Shaffer of Panther Creek defeated Josh Sawyer of DSA 6-2 at 170.
At 195 Ian Callahan of Green Hope beat Matt Powell of Panther Creek 6-5, and at 220 Chad Mason of Green Hope stuck Emmanuel Ukhueligbe of 71st with a reverse half-underhook combination. At 285, Mike Sutton of Panther Creek fended off an attempted double overhook throw by Da’Quan Brown of Hillside and tossed Brown to his back for the fall.
Because of state athletic rules limiting wrestlers to five matches in a day, some of the consolation bouts could not be held. Wrestlers were awarded ties in those place-finish matches where wrestlers already hit their five-match limit.
Bull Durham Holiday Classic
1. Panther Creek (PC) 264; 2. Jordan (J) 250.5; 3. Western Harnett (WH) 179.5; 4. Durham School of the Arts (DSA) 125; 5. Roxboro Person (P) 123.5; 6. Cary Green Hope (GH) 107; 7. Fayetteville Seventy First (71st) 105.5; 8. Cedar Ridge (CR) 101.5; 9. Apex Middle Creek (MC) 101; 10. Carrboro (C) 100; 11. Bishop McGuiness (M) 83; 12. Hillside (H) 73.5; 13. East Wake (EW) 63.5; 14. Harnett Central (HC) 53; 15. Ravenscroft (R) 36; 16. Voyager Academy (VA) 11.
106—Wade Clifton (J) d. Mason Morris (WH) 3-2; 113—Shovan Bhatta (PC) maj. dec. George Carpenter (C) 15-6; 120—Nathan Allison (PC) maj. dec. Spencer Service (J) 18-5; 126—Robbie Tomasic (J) d. Alexander Preudhomme (Bishop McGuiness) 6-5; 132—Nathan Zak (WH) p. Kenny Jay (P); 138—Kartaoui Allal (J) d. Chris Duckworth (Green Hope) 10-5; 145—Brendan Way (CR) p. Matt Stober (PC) 2:36; 152—Adam Howard (CR) d. Diego Terron (DSA) 7-1; 160—Dakota Roberts (WH) p. Luke Uhlik (MC); 170—Cameron Shaffer (PC) d. Josh Sawyer (DSA) 6-2; 182—Tyrece Jones (J) p. PJ Veltri (C); 195—Ian Callahan (GH) d. Matt Powell (PC) 6-5; 220—Chad Mason (GH) p. Emmanuel Ukhueligbe (71st); 285—Mike Sutton (PC) p. Da’Quan Brown (H).
106—Dante Veltri (C) p. Liam King (R); 113—Chase Gentry (P) tie with Nicholas Gazzillo (MC) 120*—Brennan Patton (WH) tie with Danny Hegeman (GH); 126—Drake Swigart (DSA) p. Francisco Jimenez (P); 132—Isaac Little (DSA) tie with Miles Kent (PC); 138—Nick Trego (M) d. Noah Lambert (C) 5-0; 145*—Detrick Williams (71st) tie with Micah Marcin; 152—Kyle Brown (MC) p. Brady Bethers (PC); 160—Matthew Morgan (J) p. Kiwan Rogers (H); 170*—Kaleel Gainey (J) tie with James Dobson (WH); 182—Taylor Fornier (HC) p. Rony Sasrallah (PC); 195*—Ayo Alabi (DSA) tie with Eric Rivas (J); 220—Aaron Chan (PC) p. Bruce Espinoza (HC); 285—Courtland Parker (J) d. Matt Allen (P) 4-2 OT.
106*—Ryan Pasquale (MC) tie Chris Stirgus (H); 113—Cody Staples (EW)* tie Logan Donaldson (WH); 120—Michael Tanahey (M) d. Darius Pettiford (P); 126*—Jeff Kelly (WH) tie Adonis Adkins (PC); 132—Cooper McKinnon (CR) won by fofeith over Patrick Tomasic (J); 138—Sherrell Torain (P) p. Patrick Gallagher (PC); 145—Nasif Staley (WH) won by injury default over Matthew Mayer (P); 152—Phillip Stone (EW) won by disqualification over Jacob Falemalama (WH); 160—Zach Dwinell (CR) p. Hunter Perez (EW); 170—Garrett Hicks (R) d. Lathan Nelson (71st) 2-0; 182—Laurence Fogg (H) p. Matthew Simpkins (71st); 195—Sterling Wilder (EW) p. Deandre Vickers (71st); 220—James Hutson (P) d. Keifer Knight (J) 7-1; 285—Magnus Herweyer (C) d. Jared Limtiaco (71st) 5-4.
* Ties indicate bouts not contested because state rules limit individuals’ total matches to five in one day. Wrestlers declared co-third place finishers.