Northwood upsets DSA to win C-12 Conference wrestling tournament
One of the state’s top-ranked wrestlers got knocked off his perch, another one had a tough time defending his No. 1 ranking, and other Top 10 North Carolina wrestlers squared off in the finals of the Carolina 12 Conference 1A-2A wrestling tournament at South Granville High School on Saturday.
The Northwood Chargers came away with their first conference team title as the Carolina 12 put on its swan song. The conference is dissolving after this year due to state reclassifications.
“I love it,” Northwood coach Jason Amy said of his squad’s turnabout on regular season champ Durham School of the Arts. “We finished 6-1 (in conference duals) and we lost to DSA head-to-head. We’ve got a fairly young team. It’s a group that’s really bought into a system that they’ve started to learn how to wrestle and they’re executing.”
Amy said “probably the biggest surprise” of the night was senior Jourden Blackmon losing to DSA’s Michael Eubanks. “He’s been ranked No. 1 in the 2-A’s all season at 195, and he will come back,” Amy said.
Senior Brandon Meeks of South Granville and junior Stephen Dreher of Carrboro were honored at the conclusion of their finals matches with a plaque for recording their 100th career wins.
“It means a lot to me, my school, my coach and my parents. It’s a great accomplishment,” Meeks said.
“I’ve been working hard for three years. I’m glad to have it. It’s paid off,” Dreher said.
Voyager Academy coach Wilson Diaz seemed just as happy about Cody Wilkerson, his 195-pounder, taking third place.
“Cody’s a sophomore and a captain of our team and worked real hard to get us our very first placer in any tournament we’ve ever had,” Diaz said. “It will be big for our team,” which is in its inaugural season.
Meeks was ranked seventh in the state coming into the tournament against sixth-ranked Dante Veltri of Carrboro. He jumped out to a 4-1 lead on a pair of first-period takedowns and cruised to a 6-3 finish.
At 113, George Carpenter of Carrboro decisioned Jairo Fernandez of DSA 5-2, and at 120 Dreher, ranked fourth in the state, used a half nelson/near arm post to pin Dedriyon Cook of DSA.
Arie Freeman of Granville Central upset 126-pounder Drake Swigart of DSA with a 4-2 overtime win, spinning behind for a takedown to clinch it. Swigart has been ranked fifth in the state.
“I never beat him before. He’s always had more technique, but this one time I finally got him,” Freeman said. “I can’t believe it.”
At 132, Isaac Little of DSA beat Rob Hamlet of Northwood 7-2, and at 138 returning 1-A state champion Henry Seiler of Science & Math pinned Michael Queen of Northwood with a whizzer to a pancake and half nelson.
After a pair of runner-up finishes in past years, Brendan Way of Cedar Ridge won 8-6 at 145 over Keegan Cordell of Carrboro, and Nathan Bizzell of Granville Central, top-ranked in North Carolina at 152, had a stiff challenge and a few scares from Adam Howard of Cedar Ridge, but prevailed 12-6.
At 160, Carson McKay of Carrboro hit a third period switch to lock up his 8-4 win over eighth-ranked Brysen Thorpe of South Granville. And at 170, DSA’s fourth-ranked Josh Sawyer decked 1-A fourth-ranked Jeshua Ray of Science & Math.
"I got my Russian tie-up, took it to a single leg and quickly switched it off to a double leg, which I dub my own signature move because I can't finish a full single leg or full double leg, so I string them together into a Frankenstein move. I just crank that so I can put him on his back," Sawyer said.
Austin Brogden of South Granville clamped Jarrod Blackmon of Northwood with a double underhook at 182, and then Eubanks beat his brother, Jourden Blackmon. Eubanks used a double underhook throw for a takedown, and powered the more muscular Blackmon to his butt for another takedown in gaining a 6-5 win that had the crowd abuzz.
At 220 Jack Dalton of Northwood decked Charlie Rebilas of South Granville and Northwood 285-pounder Thaddeus Tallman, ranked sixth in the state, pinned Magnus Herweyer of Carrboro with a double underhook.
Carolina 12 1-A/2-A Conference Tournament
1. Northwood 140, 2. Carrboro 122, 3. Durham School of the Arts 120, 4. South Granville 94.5, 5. Cedar Ridge 94, 6. N.C. School of Science & Math 75, 7. Granville Central, 8. Voyager Academy 26.
106—Brandon Meeks (SG) d. Dante Veltri (C) 6-3. 113—George Carpenter (C) d. Jairo Fernandez (DSA) 5-2 120—Stephen Dreher (C) p. Dedriyon Cook (DSA) 1:06. 126—Arie Freeman (GC) d. Drake Swigart (DSA) 4-2 OT. 132—Isaac Little (DSA) d. Rob Hamlet (NW) 7-2. 138—Henry Seiler (NCSSM) p. Michael Queen (NW) 1:04. 145—Brendan Way (CR) d. Keegan Cordell (C) 8-6. 152—Nathan Bizzell (GC) d. Adam Howard (CR) 12-6. 160—Carson McKay (C) d. Brysen Thorpe (SG) 8-4. 170—Josh Sawyer (DSA) p. Jeshua Ray (NCSSM) 1:00. 182—Austin Brogden (SG) p. Jarrod Blackmon (NW) 3:50. 195—Michael Eubanks (DSA) d. Jourden Blackmon (NW) 6-5. 220—Jack Dalton (NW) p. Charlie Rebilas (SG) 1:06. 285—Thaddeus Tallman (NW) p. Magnus Herweyer (C) 3:44.
106—Jacob Tutor (CR) p. Jeremy Paddock (GC) 2:21. 113—Nolan Malugen (GC) d. Duncan Brown (NCSSM) 6-2 120—Tyler White (NW) maj. d. Sean Purner (CR) 14-2. 126—Trenton Davis (C) p. Hayden Pearson (SG) 3:58. 132—Sergei Callaham-Bishop (C) p. Nicholas McNamara (NCSSM) 4:51. 138—Grady Pritchard (CR) p. Tevin Hayes (GC) 2:59. 145—Josh Babich (NCSSM) p. Saquan Hart (DSA) 2:17. 152—Tyler Wall (NW) p. Morgan Howell (NCSSM) 2:05. 160—Zachary Dwinnel (CR) maj. d. William Gottenstrater (NCSSM) 13-5. 170—John Dunning (NW) p. Phil Redmon (CR) 3:00. 182—Sam Blobe (C) d. Michael Thompson (VA) 9-7. 195—Cody Wilkerson (VA) p. Khalil Brown (SG) 0:37. 220—Sam Stuart (CR) p. Luis Moreno (DSA) 2:20. 285—Jeremy Wright (DSA) Bye.