Wrestlers set sights on state titles
By Craig Moyer
Friday, December 1, 2017
With 10 of last season’s 14 all-area wrestlers returning to the mat this season, area teams and wrestlers have hopes to contend conference, regional and state titles in the 2017-18 season.
Currituck, John A. Holmes, Northeastern and Pasquotank are all hoping to build off strong seasons last year and continue their success this year.
Area athletes will also be battling to be named area wrestler of the year, as Anthony Bonner, who took the title last season, was one of three all-area members who graduated last year.
With the season underway for some area teams and beginning shortly for others, area wrestlers will look to start strong and carry that momentum throughout the entirety of the season.
Here is more on the wrestling teams in the area:
Coach: Paul Bossi
Last season’s record: (12-2, 8-2 NCC)
Outlook: The Knights have the youngest team in the area this season, as five freshmen are expected to start, compared to just one senior.
Head coach Paul Bossi noted that despite having a young team, the group is very disciplined and works hard.
Currituck returns three all-area wrestlers from last season in Michael Culpepper, Jacob Lassiter and Albert Harris.
The only all-area wrestler the Knights must replace this season is Chris Franco.
The Knights will look to a strong season from their junior class, led by Culpepper and Harris, who are joined by junior starters Hunter Forehand, Caleb Riggins, Tyler Ingram and Mark Dutton.
Harris led the team last season with 29 wins, finishing the year 29-5 overall and placing 5th in the state for his weight class.
The junior will likely be a contender for a state title this season.
Dutton recorded the team’s second most wins, finishing the season with a 25-7 record.
The 14-year head coach also pointed to Samuel Hodges, a freshman who Bossi believes could have a special season.
JOHN A. HOLMES
Coach: Lenny Plummer
Last season’s record: (15-12)
Outlook: The Aces have yet to begin their season due to the football team’s second-straight deep run into the playoffs, as several wrestlers on the football team as well.
The Aces will begin their season this weekend and will be led by returning all-area wrestlers Tim White and Ky’Vaughn Rome.
Plummer said both will move up a weight class this season, as White will compete in the 182 class and Rome will compete at 220.
Rome finished last season 12-4 overall and was just short of qualifying for the state meet, while White finished with a 16-6 record last season.
While the Aces have a large senior class of six this season, their head coach also expects strong contributions from a couple of younger members.
Aaron Jones at the 106 class and Jonathan Salinas at the 152 class both join the team this season as freshmen and will look to have strong seasons.
Edenton will be without Skylar Riddick, who was an all-area member last season as freshmen, but is no longer with the team.
The team will host their first dual-team meet in several years this season, as they hold the first-annual Henry Overton Tournament Jan. 6.
Plummer said seven schools have committed to the tournament and he is hoping to get that number to 10.
The Aces coach said he expects his team to be very strong at the mid to upper weight classes this season.
Edenton will look to avoid a slow start this season, as last year the team started 3-8, before turning things around and going 12-4 to finish the season.
Coach: Larenzo King
Last season’s record: (9-6, 6-4 NCC)
Outlook: Northeastern is the area’s most experienced team, returning 10 starters from last season’s team, including three all-area wrestlers and two state qualifiers.
The Eagles return all-area wrestlers Scott Marazoff, Walter Kellar and Jonathan Ward, as well as state qualifier Raven Atkins.
Herman finished the year with a 26-8 overall record and was named a National High School Coaches Association All American, despite suffering a season-ending injury at the regional.
Ward and Atkins led the team with 36 wins, as Ward finished 36-13 and Atkins finished the year 36-12.
With just one freshman expected to start, almost all of the starters have varsity experience, something head coach Larenzo King noted as a strength for the team.
The Eagles could be looking at four or more state qualifiers this season with several experienced wrestlers returning to the mat this year.
Coach: Jonathan Sutton
Last season’s record: (12-17)
Outlook: The Panthers will look to defend their Northeastern Coastal Conference title this year with six returning starters from last season’s team.
The Panthers return two all-area wrestlers in Javiaughn Basnight and Thong Tran, but will have to replace all-area selection Judiah Simpson and area wrestler of the year Bonner.
Head coach Jonathan Sutton expects Basnight, who finished last season with a 17-3 record, to contend for a state title this season.
Sutton is also expecting Derrian Stutz, who is a senior transfer from South Dakota, to have a strong season and contend for a state title.
The third-year head coach noted that senior leadership is a strength for his team, as there are eight seniors on the roster who serve as role models on and off the mat.
As returning conference champions, Sutton stressed the importance of his team maintaining their focus and earning their dreams.