Northern's Shepard, Brown, Carrboro's Carpenter win state wrestling titles
To imagine ballet on steroids is to watch Northern Durham’s Rodney Shepard float across the wrestling mat with equal parts catlike artistry and brawn to disassemble a hapless opponent.
Shepard left no doubt from the first whistle Saturday night in the state 4-A 152-pound wrestling championship that he came to the Greensboro Coliseum to claim the title that eluded him in last year’s finals. He had Aaron Dickson airborne on the wrong side of a double leg takedown so many times that the Fayetteville Jack Britt wrestler could have been charged landing fees.
Shepard’s teammate Josh Brown won a state title at 106, and George Carpenter of Carrboro won that school’s first wrestling championship at 113 in 2A.
“I’m pretty sure Northern has had two state champs ever, and we had two in one night. That works,” said Northern coach Matt Brown, no relation to the wrestler.
“My coaches told me, my family told me, this is my year. So I trained like it, I ate it up and I’m a state champ,” the N.C. State-bound Shepard said after his 18-10 victory. “I just thought about how long I’ve been waiting for this day so I came out to get my title.”
“I had a lot of confidence in my double leg so I went after it,” Shepard said. “I wanted to come out and start scoring points early, start building my confidence up, and I figured the more work I do at the beginning of the match the less pressure there is at the end.”
Shepard hit a high crotch single into a double leg and got his first takedown shortly after the match started. He hit three more double legs in the period, leading 8-6.
Dickson dropped into a 3-point lineman’s stance to counter Shepard’s leg shot in the second period. Shepard got a takedown anyhow, crowding a Dickson leg shot and knocking him backward. Dickson reversed, but Shepard hit a standing Granby to escape. Shepard got a duck-under, a double leg, and a tilt near fall in the final period before leaping into his coach’s outstretched arms in the corner.
“He’s worked hard all four years,” Matt Brown said. “Since he was a freshman he’s worked his butt off, in the classroom, in the wrestling room, in life. It’s deserved.”
Josh Brown also was ecstatic with his state title, after defeating Jacob McNeill of Southeast Guilford 9-4.
“I was runner-up last year. This year I told myself I wasn’t going to be runner-up again,” Brown said. “I did it. I worked hard for it and I got it. I made my coach proud, I made the fans proud, I made my family proud, I made everybody proud.”
Brown had three takedowns, a reversal and an esape to lock up his win.
“I thought we beat him pretty bad,” Matt Brown said, noting that Josh Brown wasn’t opening up his moves like he normally would. “He was nervous.”
Carrboro sent a pair of wrestlers to the 2A finals. George Carpenter won at 113 and Stephen Dreher lost at 120.
Carpenter pulled another rabbit out of his hat of tricks in defeating Austin Klutz of Newton Conover with some last-second heroics for the 113-pound 2A title. Tied 4-4 in the final period, Carpenter got a penalty point to go up when Klutz grabbed his headgear. Klutz then let him escape and immediately took him down with a double leg to tie it back up.
Carpenter reversed him to win.
“I just felt where his pressure was, he hit a move and I countered that and held on,” Carpenter said. “I just wrestled through it, just like any other match. It feels real good to win.”
Alex Bray of Croatan was winning 2-0 on a low leg shot for a second period takedown against Dreher. He then slapped on a cradle to pin the Carrboro wrestler.
Orange won the 3-A individual event team title — as opposed to the full-team dual team title — for the second consecutive year. Orange coach Bobby Shriner was named “North Carolina Mat News” Coach of the Year, and was honored as the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s North Carolina Coach of Year.
Orange sent four to the finals — Joe Scott (106), Jack Twomey-Kozak (138), David Peters-Logue (160) and Aubrey Browning (182) — but had no champions.
David Cline of Robinson clamped Scott before the first minute elapsed in their bout, tossing the Panther grappler to his back with a wicked lateral drop.
Twomey-Kozak had a double overhook and stretched his leg as far as it would reach in a futile inside trip throw attempt to pull out a victory in the waning seconds of his match against Chris Halstead of West Carteret. Halstead won 5-2. He had a single-leg takedown and two-point tilt in the first period.
Peters-Logue lost 2-1 to Kenan Robertson of Robinson. Robertson scored off a single-leg takedown and long scramble in the first period. Peters-Logue escaped in the third but Robertson foiled him at every turn in his takedown efforts.
Browning suffered a first period pin after nearly decking Collin Johnson of North Gaston at 182. Browning used a cradle for a takedown and back points for a 4-0 lead. But Johnson rocked out for a reversal and three back points with a half nelson. Seconds later he rocked Browning to his back with the pinning cradle.
NOTES — Two other area wrestlers on Saturday placed third overall, including N.C. School of Science and Mathematics’ Henry Seiler (1-A, 138) and Orange’s Anderson Pope (3-A, 145).
Placing fifth were Southern’s Willie Hayes (4-A, 126), Orange’s Collin Smith (3-A, 126) and Cedar Ridge’s Adam Howard (2-A, 152).
Northwood star Jourden Blackmon (2-A, 195, lost his fifth place bout and finished sixth.
Editor's note: Complete Thursday and Friday wrestling results for area wrestlers are posted at www.heraldsun.com. Click on Sports, then High Schools..
NCHSAA INDIVIDUAL TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP/AREA RESULTS
4-A Individual Finals
(Winner is state champion, loser is runner-up)
106—Josh Brown (Northern) won by decision over Jacob McNeill (SE Guilford) 9-4; 152—Rodney Shepard (Northern) major won by decision oversion over Aaron Dickson (Jack Britt) 18-10.
3-A Individual Finals
106—David Cline (Robinson) pinned Joe Scott (Orange) 0:55; 138—Chris Halstead (West Carteret) won by decision over Jack Twomey-Kozak (Orange) 5-2; 160—Kenan Robertson (Robinson) won by decision over David Peters-Logue (Orange) 2-1; 182—Collin Johnson (North Gaston) pinned Aubrey Browning (Orange) 1:22.
2-A Individual Finals
113—George Carpenter (Carrboro) won by decision over Austin Klutz (Newton Conover) 8-6; 120—Alex Bray (Croatan) pinned Stephen Dreher (Carrboro) 3:32.
Other Saturday Rounds at Greensboro Coliseum ...
4A Consolation Finals
Fifth & Sixth Place
126—Willie Hayes (Southern) dec. Antonio Patterson (West Charlotte) 5-2.
3-A Consolation Finals
Fifth & Sixth Place
126—Collin Smith (Orange) dec. Jonah Swinson (Robinson) 1-0.
145—Anderson Pope (Orange) dec. Alex Palinski (Cardinal Gibbons) 4-2 (OT).
2-A Consolation Finals
Fifth & Sixth Place
152—Adam Howard (Cedar Ridge) pin Nathan Reitzel (Newton Conover) 2:42. 195—Josh Davis (Bartlett Yancey) pin Jourden Blackmon (Northwood) 1:36.
1-A Consolation Finals
138—Henry Seiler (N.C. Science & Math) dec. Nicholas Trego (Bishop McGuinness) 4-0.
4-A Consolation Semifinals
126—Will Clark (Cary) dec. Willie Hayes (Southern) 9-3.
3-A Consolation Semifinals
126—Tyler Hall (South Rowan) dec. Collin Smith (Orange) 6-3. 145—Anderson Pope (Orange) dec. Will Brandon (Ashbrook) 4-2.
2-A Consolation Semifinals
152—Lucas Smith (Piedmont) dec. Adam Howard (Cedar Ridge) 5-2. 195—Bryce Braswell (Piedmont) pin Jourden Blackmon (Northwood) 1:05.
1-A Consolation Semifinals
138—Henry Seiler (N.C. Science & Math) maj. dec. Desshion Cooper (Ayden-Grifton) 10-0.
4-A 3rd Round Consolation
113—Conner Kominek (Lake Norman) dec. Chase Gentry (Person) 7-6. 120—Mitchell Goldbach (Wake Forest-Rolesville) maj. dec. Spencer Service (Jordan) 12-2. 126—Willie Hayes (Southern) dec. Robert Tomasic (Jordan) 3-2. 152—Eric Wilberg (Fuquay Varina) dec. Jaquan Sowell (Riverside) 8-7.
3-A 3rd Round Consolations
220—Daniel Carroll (West Henderson) pin Arthur Colson (Chapel Hill) 2:37.
2-A 3rd Round Consolations
152—Adam Howard (Cedar Ridge) pin Lauren Zimmerman (Wheatmore) 2:41. 170—Joseph Walther (Cuthbertson) maj. dec. Joshua Sawyer (Durham School of the Arts) 12-3.
1-A 1st Round Consolation
182—Will McCraw (Thomas Jefferson) maj. dec. Benson Robles (N.C. Science & Math) 16-3.