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Wrestling: Mustangs make it to quarters

East Rowan punched its ticket to the quarterfinals of the 3A state wrestling dual-team playoffs with a pair of seemingly easy wins Tuesday.

In a quad meet hosted at North Iredell, the Mustangs, the No. 1 seed from the South Piedmont Conference, defeated North Lincoln 46-27 in the first round and then followed up with a 54-20 win over Marvin Ridge in the second round.

East Rowan wrestlers coming away with two wins on the night were Landon Carico at 113 pounds, Logan Haas at 120, Jeffrey Burrell at 126, Dustin Humphrey at 145, Luke Miller at 152, Max Wall at 160, Daniel Muncy at 170 and Shiheem Suanders at 182.

Sam Cornicchione at 106 pounds, Jake Boltz at 195 and Cody Hiatt at 220 pounds each won once.

“The theme tonight was stay off our backs,” head coach Barry Justus said. “We wanted to give our good guys the opportunity to win and keep everybody off their back because we have guys good enough where (the opponent can’t) beat us if we keep off our backs.

“And the competition Thursday just gets better.”

East Rowan’s quarterfinal quad meet is a definite step up in competition. Newton Foard, Enka and Monroe Piedmont are waiting for the Mustangs. The combined record for those three teams is 90-8. None of those teams has lost more than four dual-team matches this season.

The time and location of the matches has not been determined. East Rowan is pushing for the right to host the region semifinals and final.

Regardless of what happens Thursday, it will still be a good year for this group of Mustangs.

“For these kids, they’ve never made it [to the third round],” Justus said. “So, it’s huge for them and means a lot for the kids to be one of the top eight teams in the state of North Carolina.”

Salisbury was bounced from the dual-team playoffs in the first round. The Hornets were defeated 39-27 by North Surry.

Winners for Salisbury were Blaine Richardson at 106 pounds, Jibri Cowan with a major decision at 138, Chris Vera with a tech fall at 145, and pins by Darius Jackson at 152 pounds, Simeon Caldwell at 182, and J.C. Burton with a pin at 195.

The victory in the 138-pound match was Cowan’s 30th of the season.

The Hornets ended the season 22-8. The loss came just three days after the Hornets, the No. 2 team from the Central Carolina Conference, claimed the title at the CCC tournament.

“We finished the year 22-8, and that’s not too bad in our second year with myself and the coaching staff at Salisbury,” Pittman said. “We had a good weekend last weekend winning the conference tournament and now we have to go up and try to place as many guys at the regional and get them to state.”

The Hornets wrestle in the 2A Midwest regional tournament at Monroe Parkwood on Feb. 13-14.

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