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A dozen Brunswick County wrestlers will compete in the N.C. High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships this weekend in Winston-Salem.
West Brunswick and South Brunswick, coming off runner-up finishes in last week’s regional tournaments, will each send five wrestlers to the state championships. North Brunswick has two state qualifiers.
West Brunswick finished second out of 21 teams at the East 3A Regional tournament, which was conducted Friday and Saturday at South Central High School near Greenville.
The Trojans finished with 104 points, 42 fewer than Havelock, to match their best finish ever at a regional.
West Brunswick coach Jimmy Caraway said he didn’t realize his team was so high in the standings until the two-day tournament was almost over.
“At one point we were eighth and all of a sudden the coach from Havelock said we were in second place. Some of the kids were getting on the bus when they announced it. We didn’t know we clinched second,” he said.
“We weren’t even thinking about that. We were just trying to get guys through to the state tournament, and thankfully, we got five guys there.”
South Brunswick finished second out of 21 schools at East 1A/2A Regional. Tournament host Croatan took first place with 140 points and the Cougars were next with 99.5.
At each regional tournament, the top four finishers in each weight class qualified for the state championships.
West Brunswick’s five state qualifiers are Dylan Bernier at 103 pounds, Josh Sergent at 119, Brian Dillman at 125, Deven Ruane at 152 and Dixon Floyd at heavyweight.
Bernier, a sophomore who is 31-6 this season, and Sergent, a senior with a 34-2 record, were regional runners-up.
Landon Lucas of Southwest Edgecombe pinned Bernier in 4:32 in the finals, while Sergent lost a 2-1 sudden death overtime decision to Havelock’s Christian Holleman.
This will be Bernier’s first appearance at the state tournament and the second for Sergent, who has been ranked among the best in his weight class all season.
Ruane placed third in the 152-pound weight class to earn his first trip to the state championships. The junior has a 32-11 record.
West Brunswick seniors Dillman and Floyd both finished fourth at the regional. Dillman is 28-9 this season and is making his first trip to states, while Floyd is a three-time state qualifier with a 35-7 mark.
Caraway said every West Brunswick wrestler who competed in the regional tournament won at least one match, which was instrumental in boosting the team to a second-place finish.
“The first day I wasn’t too pleased with our performance,” he said. “We had a meeting when we got back to the hotel and every kid won at least one match after that.”
Caraway said several of his wrestlers won close matches, by one or two points, to advance in the regional.
Bernier won by one point in the semifinals, Dillman and Ruane each won by one point in consolation semifinals and Floyd won by two points in the consolation semifinals. Ruane trailed 10-3 in the third period of his match but came back to clinch a state berth.
“I really feel it was our conditioning and strength that carried us through those matches,” Caraway said. “This is the second time I’m taking five guys to the state tournament. I’m hoping they can all win at least one match.”
South Brunswick had two regional champions in brothers Jeromy and Sammy Roundtree.
Sophomore Jeromy Roundtree won a 9-6 decision against Croatan’s Michael Melin in the 119-pound final to improve his overall record to 40-1.
Senior Sammy Roundtree defeated Louisburg’s Philip Mueller 13-3 for the 125-pound championship. He will take a 42-1 mark to states.
South Brunswick sophomore Johnathan Marvin (30-8) finished third in the 135-pound weight class. Placing fourth were junior Charlie Martin (34-12) at 130 pounds and senior David Cochran (35-11) at 215.
North Brunswick’s two state qualifiers are senior 140-pounder Nick Barnes and senior 215-pounder Bryant Burton.
Burton won the regional championship with a third-period pin of Croatan’s Emmanuel Bryant and will take a 36-7 record into the state tournament. Barnes placed fourth at the regional and has a 31-6 record.
Caraway said the regional tournaments showed the strength of wrestling in southeastern North Carolina.
In addition to the strong showings by West Brunswick and South Brunswick, Wilmington Laney was the runner-up in the East 4A Regional.
The state tournament is Friday and Saturday at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem.
Friday’s weigh-ins are scheduled for 7 a.m. with first-round matches beginning at 9 a.m. Quarterfinals will begin at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, weigh-ins are set for 7 a.m. with second-round consolations starting at 8:30 a.m., followed by semifinals and third-round consolations. The finals will start at 6 p.m.