• 50°

Prep Wrestling: East Rowan wins third straight county title

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com
East Rowan’s wrestling team is again the picture of health ó and that spelled trouble for everyone else in Saturday’s Rowan County tournament.
Barry Justus’ Mustangs outscored five county opponents, claimed five weight-class champions and breezed to their third straight Rowan title.
“We’ve been dealing with injuries and sickness all season,” Justus said at Salisbury High School, where East (5-0) won a fifth-round showdown against runnerup South Rowan (4-1) to clinch it. “We were finally hoping to have some sense of normalcy and be able to put a competitive team on the mat.”
East senior Aaron Plyler ó who weighed in at 129.4 pounds ó captured the 135 title and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler for an unprecedented fourth time. He pinned North Rowan’s Corey Angle in Round 1, was awarded three consecutive forfeits and outpointed South’s Eli Freeman 8-1 in a pivotal Round 5 match.
“Eli’s a tough wrestler. I’ve known him since fifth grade,” said Plyler, now 22-1 in duals. “His dad and my dad wrestled for the same East Rowan team in the mid-70’s. So he’s been doing this a long time.”
Eli Freeman’s dad is South coach Wayne Freeman, who gambled with a couple of match-time switches and came up empty.
“We moved some people around,” he said. “I moved my 125 guy to 130 and one of my 140 guys to 145. It just didn’t work out.”
It didn’t because East won six straight middleweight bouts and built a 36-15 lead when Franklin Wright pinned SR’s Alex Gutierrez in 1:33 at 140 pounds. Another key decision came in a battle of unbeaten wrestlers at 119, where East’s Chase Thompson handed Jake Freeman ó of the same Freeman family ó a 6-0 defeat that tied the score 15-15.
“I was surprised because I thought it would be a much tougher match,” said Thompson, a two-time county champ who placed first at 112 wearing a West Rowan singlet last year. “It felt good to beat him 6-0, but I did it for the team. We needed the points more than we needed another individual champion.”
Thompson (7-1) has seen only limited action due to a sprained right shoulder suffered early in the season. “This definitely silenced all those voices,” he said. “I know I’m 100 percent now.”
So were teammates Hunter Arey (152), Coleton Boone (160) and Alex Lawson (215). Each took home first-place medals.
“They came in aggressive,” said Wayne Freeman, who coached South to five straight county titles from 2001-05. “I watched them all day. They were wrestling to win this thing.”
South had a pair of individual champs ó Jonathan Ruiz at 103 and Thomas Lowe at 189. Ruiz locked his title up with an opening-minute pin against East’s Nick Cornacchione in Round 5 while Lowe, a recent transfer from East, pinned the Mustangs’ Barrett Stehr in 3:55 to open the final round.
“Everybody thought it would be closer,” Lowe said. “I don’t know what happened. But between the time we stepped on the mat and the time the buzzer sounded, something went wrong.”
Justus seemed to take the day ó and its remarkable accomplishment ó in stride.
“The county’s important,” he said. “But the conference and state playoffs are just as, or more, important. So this is only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s one goal that we set every year along the way to bigger and better goals.”
Later, Justus mentioned South’s recent dominance in the county as a motivating factor. “We put some pretty nasty teams together and didn’t win this,” he said. “Now we have. Maybe it was just our time.”
Or perhaps, as Plyler indicated, it was simply a matter of restocking the lineup.
“We finally had everybody back today,” he said. “We’re finally healthy. And you could tell.”

NOTES: Carson, Salisbury and West finished in a three-way tie for third place in the team standings. Carson had three champions ó Nick Golden (125), Anson Phillips (140) and Jacorian Brown (171). Salisbury’s Dontarius Mills (112), Joseph Figueroa (130) and Tre Jackson (145) were winners. … Complete results are in the Scoreboard on page 2F.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Salisbury, Kannapolis men charged with soliciting sexual acts

News

Racial bias ‘deeply entrenched’ in report critical of Apex Police Department

Nation/World

US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia

Elections

City council again dismisses idea of adding new member, focus now on recommendation to delay elections

Business

‘Let’s make some money:’ Loosened restrictions praised by bar owners, baseball team

High School

Salisbury High bucks historical trend in dominant shutout of West Rowan

Enochville

Garage declared total loss after Enochville fire

Crime

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Coronavirus

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week

Crime

Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station

Crime

Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor

Crime

Road rage incident results in assault charges

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package