Area wrestlers eye state titles
Sat. December 01, 2012 at 7:58 p.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
Topsail's Tate Correll (yellow), wrestles South Brunswick's Trey Borsuk (blue) in the 152 pound weight class during the Terry Bache Duals involving 12 schools at Topsail High School in Hampstead Saturday, December 1, 2012. (Photo by Star News photo by Matt Born )
HAMPSTEAD | Wilmington-area wrestlers are eyeing state titles, and all faced an early season test at Saturday's Terry Bache Duals at Topsail.
Seven schools have at least one wrestler ranked in the top 10 in their respective class, according to RetroRankings.com. That includes Hoggard, Ashley, Laney, South Brunswick, North Brunswick, Trask and Topsail.
Topsail returns four top-10 wrestlers from what coach Jake Pence called a rebuilding season in 2011-12. Even in that year, the Pirates had three wrestlers qualify for the state finals, and all three return this year, including five more that barely missed qualifying for the state championships. That experienced core has Pence excited for a strong year.
"Last year was our growing year," Pence said. "It was our first time getting a lot of experience. They did well and by the end of the year they were there. And now they've been training, and they've got a lot of confidence and it shows. We were tested today. Last year was about growing, this year is about testing our skills."
Topsail isn't the only team with high aims. Ashley senior Victor Sosa finished fourth in the 4A 113 lb. weight class last year and is ranked No. 4 overall this year, while Hoggard's Phillipe Frederick is ranked No. 2 in the state at 138 lbs.
"I'm really excited," Hoggard coach Craig Underwood said. "He was a sophomore when I took over the team, and just watching him develop each year and each season, and my assistant coaches have done some a great job with him and this group of seniors."
Laney also returns a pair of state qualifiers in Larry Williams at 285 lbs and Shyler Wagner at 145 lbs, and added South Brunswick transfer Brian Capps as well. Underwood said the value of facing off against teams like Topsail, South View and 4A state power Parkland on Saturday couldn't be overstated.
"The big thing is we've got a couple experienced guys," Underwood said. "And seeing a team like Parkland, I think it'll really benefit later on in the season."
The collection of Wilmington wrestlers, combined with strong individuals at North Brunswick, South Brunswick and Trask, make the Wilmington area a strong one for wrestling.
"I think it's a complement to some coaches around our area that really hustle and really try to improve wrestling," Pence said. "I think it'll even things up as time goes on. Right now there are some really good coaches and it shows."
Powell Latimer: 343-2261
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