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Cary wrestling coach Taylor Cummings knows his Imps team has a target on its back.
Coming off of a first place finish at the Jim King/Orange Invitational the week before, Cummings didn’t feel the perennial power Imps performed as well Saturday at the eighth annual Wakefield Challenge invitational, but Cary was able to again walk away with the top spot.
Numerically, he was pleased with the team’s first place finish, but Cummings said the Imps could have had a stronger showing overall.
“Today we looked a little flat all day,” he said. “We made a lot of simple mistakes -- fundamental mistakes -- early on, but when they were faced with adversity and when it came down to it, they stepped up.”
Ahead of Sanderson by just one point entering the championship bouts, three Cary wrestlers took the title in their individual weight classes to give the Imps 203.5 total points and the win.
Will Clark defeated Southern Vance’s Moses Richardson for the 126-pound title by injury default, Alex Ynoquio pinned Apex’s Joe Furtick in 1:20 for the 132-pound title, and Corey Daniels topped West Johnston’s Sam Campbell 8-6 in overtime in the 220-pound class.
Cummings felt Sanderson, the winner of last week’s Green Hope Grapple invitational, put up a good fight, especially considering the Spartans graduated most of its team from last year.
Spartans coach Jeremy Barefoot agreed, saying he was able to see growth in his young team from last week to Saturday.
“Even though we took second today, I don’t think I could be prouder of my guys,” Barefoot said. “We’ve got to learn how to win close matches, but overall I’m happy with the way we performed.”
Johnny Gomez (152) was the only Spartan to finish atop his class. Gomez, who defeated Cary’s Mark Mulligan 3-0, was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the upper weight classes.
Barefoot said he was pleased that his team was able to give Cary a bit of a challenge, and happy with Sanderson’s placing second among the tournament’s 19 teams.
Wake Forest-Rolesville came in third with a team total 152.5 points. The Cougars were led by 285-pound champion Brinson Allen and Mitch Goldbach, who won the 120 class and was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler of the lower classes.
Defending N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A champion Henry Seiler of N.C. School of Science and Math won his 100th career match, topping Knightdale’s Brandon Skinner in an 11-3 decision for the 145-pound title.
West Johnston’s Tony Jimenez (106), Apex’s Chance Davis (113), Apex’s Evan Arredondo (138), Southern Durham’s Anthony Holder (160), Broughton’s Cameron Longmire (170), Knightdale’s Alif Bey (182) and Knightdale’s Lamar Dulin (195) finished atop their respective classes.