BYH to Greenville motorists. I checked the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence neither refer to an...



Ray Darden


The Daily Reflector

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ayden-Grifton wrestler Ray Darden is undefeated so far in his junior season. Darden chatted with Reflector prep sports beat writer Jordan Anders this week about adjusting to wrestling after a childhood of just playing football, as well as his quest to reach the state championships.

Q: How long have you been wrestling?

A: Three years. I started my freshman year and I was new to it.

Q: Why did you start?

A: It was just something to keep me in shape. I kept riding the bus home and one day (A-G wrestling coach Jeff Wooten) was like, ‘Ray, you need to get a second sport.’ I said, ‘Coach, I don’t know. I just like football,’ and he said, ‘Why don’t you try out wrestling?’ So I came out and started doing it as just something to help me stay in shape.

Q: How long had you played football before you got into wrestling?

A: Oh, I played football since I was little, playing rec league and stuff like that.

Q: What is your favorite part of wrestling?

A: What I really enjoy is it’s an individual sport and it’s just yourself. I mean, you have team duals and you want to win for your team, but you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. The only way you can lose is if you don’t have it mentally.

Q: The individuality of wrestling is a pretty stark contrast to the team-oriented mentality of football. Does it take you a while to adjust to wrestling season once football season ends?

A: You’ve just got to realize that it’s still a team sport, but at the same time, on the mat, it’s just you and the guy in front of you. It’s just you. No coaches. No other players. Just you and him, and if you don’t have it mentally, you’re not going to win.

Q: What’s the biggest thing from football that helps you as a wrestler?

A: Just drive and motivation, and the strength to keep going. That’s what helps me.

Q: Let’s talk technique. What’s your strongest attribute on the mat?

A: My wrist control. Anybody who wrestles me knows I always try to go for the wrist. As long as I control your wrist, I can control anything you do with movement and stuff. That’s what I really go for.

Q: Was that a strength of yours from the start or something you had to develop?

A: It was something I had to develop. I had to realize that other guys are stronger than me, but if I can control a certain area and how they move and stuff — because I’m usually smaller than most guys — then I’m a little faster and my wind is a little longer.

Q: What do you think is the biggest difference between the freshman coach Wooten convinced to try out for wrestling and the competitor you are today?

A: My knowledge of the sport itself. My freshman year, I wasn’t really that good because I hadn’t been doing it for a long time. As I started progressing, my mentality told me, ‘Ray, you need to stop losing.’ That kicked in and I started learning the stuff and learning the technique, because I really wasn’t into it at first.

Q: What’s your record this year?

A: I’m 10-0.

Q: What do you think has been the biggest key to your strong season?

A: I think the biggest key has been practice. ... You can see a difference between going a full week of practice and then going to a match, and going one day of practice and going to a match. There’s a big difference.

Q: You made it to regionals last year and lost in the fourth round, just missing out on a trip to states. How much is that driving you this year?

A: It’s a lot more motivation. My biggest thing is just to try to make it to regionals and do whatever I’ve got to do to make it to states. Being a state contender is a big opportunity, and winning states would be even bigger, but my main goal this year is just to make it there.

Q: How confident are you that you can do that?

A: I’m pretty confident. All I know is, this year, I haven’t lost and I’m just trying to keep it that way. The only way to make it to states for sure is to not lose.

If you have a suggestion for a player to be featured in Prep Spotlight, contact Jordan Anders at janders@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

April 20, 2018

C.B. Aycock came to Greenville on Friday night for key games in Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference baseball and softball and D.H. Conley protected home field with a 4-2 win in baseball and 7-3 victory in softball.

Robbie O'Neal started on the pitcher’s mound for the first-place Vikings (17-3,…


April 18, 2018

North Pitt claimed an 8-6 victory over SouthWest Edgecombe in baseball in dramatic fashion in a late Tuesday game, fending off a two-run seventh inning by the visitors with three of its own in the bottom of the frame.

SWE held a narrow 8-7 edge in hits but also committed two errors.

NP made the…


April 17, 2018

The Farmville Central Jaguars softball team hosted the North Johnston Panthers in a chilly battle of top teams on Tuesday evening, one that North Johnston took 13-2.

The unbeaten Panthers (16-0, 5-0) struck early with a Blakye Batten lead off home run, which was the start of what would be four…


April 14, 2018

It took only five in­nings Sun­day for Pitt Com­mu­nity Col­lege’s base­ball team to ex­tend its win streak to eight games and com­plete a week­end sweep of Guil­ford Tech in Win­ter­ville with an 11-1 rout.

PCC (21-9-1, 13-1) ended the game…


April 13, 2018

It was great weather for baseball inside Guy Smith Stadium on Friday evening in an all-Pitt County matchup and visiting South Central scored the first run, but J.H. Rose rallied from there for a 14-4 victory in five innings.

SC (8-7, 2-5 Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A) took the lead in the top of…


April 10, 2018

South Central’s softball team has been finding different ways to win all season, and on Tuesday night that way was extra innings.

The visiting Falcons trailed D.H. Conley by a single run for most of the evening, but came to life in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game before winning…


April 04, 2018

D.H. Conley tennis standout Haylee Dixon recently inked a letter of intent to continue her career and her studies at Pfeiffer University in Stanly County. Reflector sports intern Corey Jones spoke with Dixon about her high school career and her plans for the future.

As far as high school, how did…


April 03, 2018

Farmville Central posted a perfect 3-0 record while hosting the Golden Leaf Invitational baseball tournament.

FC, which came into the invitational on a seven-game losing streak, recorded its third straight win Tuesday in beating Wayne Country Day 19-3. The Jaguars started hot with a seven-run first…


April 02, 2018

Mul­ti­ple high school base­ball teams with state cham­pi­onship pedi­grees con­verged at Guy Smith Sta­dium on Mon­day as the Pitt County Clas­sic Easter event is near­ing its end.

D.H. Con­ley stayed hot and proved to be too much for Greene…


March 31, 2018

High school baseball and softball Easter tournament action is in full swing this weekend with games all over Pitt County.

Saturday’s early action at the annual tournament hosted by D.H. Conley at the Sara Law Softball Complex included Conley edging Topsail in its opener with a tight matchup…

105 stories in High Schools. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»