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High School Update: Winter storm wreaks havoc in South
By Rob Sherrill
The winter storm which crippled the South and the East Coast also took a huge bite out of the state wrestling tournament calendar.
The biggest casualty was the Georgia individual state tournament, which was postponed one full weekend to Feb. 20-22. It is the second time in four years that weather has caused a major disruption in the state. In 2011, an ice storm forced a five-week postponement of the state duals, from mid-January to the week following the individual state meet in late February.
The South Carolina state duals, scheduled as an all-class event Saturday in Columbia, also were canceled. The South Carolina High School League directed each class tournament to be conducted individually at neutral sites, with all tournaments required to be completed no later than Thursday, Feb. 20.
Several other states also experienced disruptions. The Alabama state tournament was shortened from a three-day event to a two-day event, held Friday and Saturday. The tournament site, Huntsville, is located in north Alabama, which experienced the most severe weather in the state.
In Virginia, the independent school state championships were postponed one day, to Saturday and Sunday. The North Carolina independent state tournament was contested Friday and Saturday as scheduled, but Thursday’s seeding meeting was canceled.
State high school association sectionals in North Carolina were postponed from Friday and Saturday to, if necessary, Saturday and Sunday, although the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) admonished schools to avoid Sunday competition if at all possible, and prohibited Sunday weigh-ins from beginning prior to noon. To that end, all revised schedules were required to be submitted to the NCHSAA for approval.
All but two of the state’s 14 sectionals competed on Sunday. Two eliminated first-round consolations in order to conduct a one-day tournament without the risk of exceeding the National Federation’s five-match daily limit. That rule remained in effect by NCHSAA edict.
Broken Arrow upends Edmond North and Stillwater, wins in Oklahoma
Senior Zack Edwards’ 4-3 upset win over Kaid Brock at 132 helped power Broken Arrow to its seventh 6A dual state title, 29-24, over Stillwater.
Stillwater, which had beaten the Tigers earlier in the season, came back to take a 20-18 lead following Edwards’ win as Tristan Moran (138) and Joe Smith (145) won decisions, Smith edging Tanner Bailey, 2-1. But Paden Bailey scored a pin for Broken Arrow at 152 and Braxton Owens’ 7-1 victory at 160 clinched the meet for the Tigers with a 29-18 lead.
Brock had won both previous meetings against Edwards this season.
In the semifinals, Broken Arrow overcame a starting weight of 170, which resulted in the Tigers falling behind defending champion Edmond North, 29-0. Triplets Joel, Lance and Andrew Dixon and Derek White (195) scored 22 of a possible 24 points to start the meet, and Nolan Malloy (285) and Paxton Rosen (106) added wins, Rosen’s via a major decision, for the 29-0 lead.
Broken Arrow then won seven in a row, with Paden Bailey’s pin at 152 giving the Tigers their first lead of the match, 33-29. Needing a technical fall or a pin to secure the win for his team – Edwards’ technical fall at 132 would have given Broken Arrow the win on criteria – Zach Walton could manage just a 10-3 decision in the final match at 160.
Perry (3A) won its 12th consecutive dual title and Collinsville (5A) and Tuttle (4A) stretched their winning streaks to five.
Great Falls puts together record-breaking repeat
Great Falls won its second straight Montana AA state title, putting together a performance that rivaled the record-breaking state tournament run Kalispell Flathead made in 2008.
The Bison scored 353.5 points – second in state history behind Flathead’s 410 that year – and did the Braves one better with a AA-record six individual champions. Flathead had five that season, one of four teams to do it previously.
Great Falls advanced eight to the finals and placed 17, just shy of Flathead’s 10 finalists and 19 place-winners in its record-setting season.
Senior Austin Shupe (138), junior Jarren Komac (113) and sophomore Tommy McMillen (126) each won their second titles for Great Falls.
Bergen Catholic, Bound Brook roll in New Jersey state duals
In a dramatic Non-Public A semifinal, Kyle Bierdumpfel scored a late takedown for a 3-2 victory over Sonny Simonetti at 132, clinching Ramsey Don Bosco Preparatory’s 29-27 victory over Jersey City St. Peter’s Preparatory. The Ironmen’s two victories over the Marauders this season came by a combined five points. For Bergen Catholic, No. 1 in The Star-Ledger Top 20, there was no sweeter way to reach the Non-Public A finals than by defeating third-ranked Don Bosco Prep.
Once again, however, the Dons were no match for a top-ranked Oradell Bergen Catholic team which was finally at full strength. The Crusaders lost the opening match of the dual at 145, but Joe Grello’s pin at 152 gave them the lead for good in a 33-18 victory. Bergen Catholic had things much easier in the final, winning 52-9 over South champion Richland St. Augustine.
Another key sectional match came in Group 2, where East Hanover Hanover Park knocked out two-time defending No. 1 Team in New Jersey honoree South Plainfield, 38-14 in the North 2 final.
Bound Brook easily won its third straight Group 1 title, 46-16 over Paulsboro. The Crusaders (18-6) won 10 of 14 bouts, taking a 9-0 lead with a pin from state champion Craig De La Cruz (126) and freshman Mekhi Lewis (132). A decision by 138-pound state runner-up Ronnie Gentile at 152 brought Paulsboro within 12-6, but Bound Brook lost just two matches the rest of the way.
This weekend’s slate: the season’s heaviest
Included on this week’s docket: the makeup of the Georgia state tournament, postponed by last weekend’s winter storm.
In all, 22 states have all or part of their state tournaments this weekend. Maine’s inaugural New England qualifier takes place Thursday.
Also on this weekend’s docket:
Arizona: 5A and 6A, Feb. 20-22 at Tims Toyota Center Arena, Prescott Valley.
Connecticut: LL, Feb. 21-22 at Trumbull HS; L, Feb. 21-22 at Bristol Central HS; M, Feb. 21-22 at Jonathan Law HS, Milford; S, Feb. 21-22 at Haddam-Killingworth HS, Higganum.
Delaware: Individual, Feb. 21-22 at Cape Henlopen HS, Lewes.
Georgia: Individual, Feb. 20-22 at the Gwinnett Center, Duluth
Illinois: Individual, Feb. 20-22 at the University of Illinois, Champaign; Dual, Mar. 1 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum, Bloomington.
Indiana: Feb. 21-22 at Bankers Life Field House, Indianapolis.
Iowa: Feb. 19-22 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.
Kentucky: Feb. 21-22 at Alltech Arena, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington.
Louisiana: Feb. 21-22 at the Ponchartrain Center, Kenner.
Maine: New England Championships qualifier, Feb. 20 at Nokomis HS.
Massachusetts: Division I, Feb. 21-22 at Lawrence HS; Division II, Feb. 21-22 at North Andover HS; Division III, Feb. 21-22 at Foxboro HS.
Michigan: Dual, Feb. 21-22 at Kellogg Arena, Battle Creek.
Missouri: Feb. 20-22 at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
National Prep: Feb. 21-22 at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.
Nebraska: Individual, Feb. 20-22 at CenturyLink Center, Omaha.
Nevada: Feb. 22 at the Desert of the Star Arena, Primm.
New Hampshire: Division I, Feb. 22 at Concord HS; Division II, Feb. 22 at Hollis-Brookline HS; Division III, Feb. 22 at Windham HS.
New Mexico: Feb. 21-22 at the Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho.
North Carolina: Individual, Feb. 20-22 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
North Dakota: Feb. 13-15 at the Bismarck Civic Center.
Virginia: 5A and 6A, Feb. 21-22 at Robinson HS, Fairfax; A, 2A, 3A and 4A, Feb. 21-22 at the Salem Civic Center.
Washington: Feb. 21-22 at the Tacoma Dome.