Wrestling: The Jolly Roger Invitational

Cary shines in finals, takes Jolly Roger team title

CorrespondentJanuary 20, 2014 

— Cary dominated the lower weight classes in winning the fourth annual Jolly Roger Invitational wrestling tournament Saturday at Corinth Holders.

In an event where finals were contested on two simultaneous mats and eventually on three, the Imps scored 213 points to 197 for Wilmington Laney to take the championship in the 27-team competition.

The Imps won three of their six finals – Parker Ragsdale at 126, Kollin Wade at 132 and Will Clark at 138 – while Laney lost four of its six including Wade’s 4-0 decision over the Bucs’ Austin Harrison.

And Cary got a little help from its neighbors, as Corinth Holders’ Darius Dunn topped Laney’s Adan Hardy 13-5 at 113, Cleveland’s Jhavonte Moon beat the Bucs’ Cole Plott 7-5 at 145 and Leesville Road’s Matt Cesari pinned Laney’s Russell Harrison in 39 seconds at 152.

There were three other area winners, all from the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference. West Johnston’s Tony Jimenez topped Leesville’s Jason Mills 5-1 at 106, while the Wildcats’ Sam Campbell whipped Jerish Neil of Vienna (Va.) James Madison 14-1 at 220. Southeast Raleigh’s Joshua Mack pinned Cary’s Javon Jarrett in 3:45 at 285.

Southern Nash finished third with 118½ points, followed by West Johnston at 114. Corinth Holders was seventh at 103½, and Cleveland ninth at 92½.

Laney’s 195-pounder Brian Capps, who pinned Fayetteville Terry Sanford’s Wes Naylor in 3:26, was named the meet’s outstanding wrestler.

“This is our first year coming here,” said fourth-year Cary coach Taylor Cummings, whose team has won five tournaments this season. “But when we heard who was coming with Laney and that many other teams we knew it would be a good event.

“It was a tall task for this time of year, but it’s nice to win this one.”

Ragsdale pinned Southern Nash’s Jordan Decosse in 4:38.

“I had a good day,” said the senior Ragsdale, now 27-1. “I got out of a little funk I was in last week and wrestled pretty well today.”

Clark got an easy 25-8 win over Corinth Holders’ Cameron Brewer. “I try to get a pin when I can,” said the junior Clark, 37-1. “But since I’m a little small for my weight class sometimes I have to take a guy down a few times and tire him out.”

Wade knew the meet might be on the line when he took the mat.

“I was pretty good, but there are things I need to improve on, my technique and strength,” said the sophomore Wade, now 35-3. “We’re pretty big rivals with Laney so it’s always a big match.”

West Johnston had a tough day, as 126-pounder Raheem Simmons suffered a neck injury in the consolation semifinals and was taken to the hospital on a back board.

“We had a rough day after the injury in the consolation semifinals,” West coach David Prendergast said. “It was a bad situation and nobody wrestled well after that until the finals. Tony and Sam wrestled really well then. Hopefully, what happened to Raheem was just a ‘stinger.’”

Campbell had no trouble with his opponent from Virginia. “My day was pretty good,” said the junior Campbell, 25-2. “But I had a couple of hiccups and we lost a teammate (for the day) who’s really important to our team’s overall morale.”

Jimenez had more of a squeaker with Mills. “I didn’t know much about (Mills),” said the senior Jimenez, now 33-3. “He recently faced a friend of mine from Laney and won. He’s a good wrestler and I respect him a lot.”

Dunn said he was happy to get a big win on his home mat. “I just wrestled my match and worked what I practiced throughout the week and it held me up,” said the senior Dunn, now 33-1. “It feels good to make my home people proud.”

For Cesari, the goal was to stay unbeaten. “I know I beat a good wrestler,” said the senior Cesari, now 27-0. “But this was a good day. I’ve been having a good year, knock on wood.”

Mack was thrilled to win the battle of the heavyweights. “He was a good opponent,” said the senior Mack, who improved to 21-3. “I knew that my former coach (Nathanial Scott) was coaching him, so it was like two students going against each other.”

Moon, who had to beat a Laney wrestler who was also trying to help his team win, won a tight match. “This was a pretty big win,” said the senior Moon, 29-2. “He beat me the last time we wrestled. It’s always good to come back and beat a guy who beat you before.”

Cary’s other runners-up were Mark Mulligan, who was nipped by Southern Nash’s Jacoby Benjamin 2-1 at 160 and Alex Zuniga, who fell 4-1 to Washington’s Devon VanCura.

Cleveland’s Chanse Wallace was second at 182, with Laney’s Joey Wieble taking the 6-2 decision.

Corinth Holders coach Eric Wischhusen said he was very happy with the overall event.

“I thought the tournament ran great,” Wischhusen said. “This was one of the best tournaments in North Carolina. We had five mats going. It was a complete Pirate wrestling team effort and it went as well as you could expect something like this to run.

“We were shaky sometimes, but I saw some good things and I think our boys really got better today.”

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