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Panthers take home county championship title

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D.H. Conley's Drake Daughtry wins against South Central's William Cannaday on Jan. 19, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, January 20, 2019

All six Pitt County high schools descended on D.H. Conley Saturday morning to determine which wrestlers were the best of the best. Over the course of five and a half hours, teams competed and fought for the right to be claimed the top in the county. 

It was North Pitt who won the team championship with 172 points. The host Vikings finished second with 147 points, while South Central finished third with 122 points. Ayden-Grifton (117 points), J.H. Rose (75 points) and Farmville Central (37 points) rounded out the pack. 

“It’s an emotional time every time you do this,” Panthers coach Chris Young said. “Our team set forth two goals at the beginning of the season. Conference (championship) and Pitt County, those were our two goals this season. We faced so much adversity that I wasn’t sure how it’d work out, but our guys stepped up.

“There were probably a dozen matches that could have gone either way, and I’d say in 11 of those we prevailed. That’s the best part about wrestling; you face adversity and you try to prevail. Sports does that for you.”

The Panthers also accomplished their goal of winning the 2-A Eastern Plains conference, which they wrapped up by attaining a 9-0 conference record Friday night.

Leading those taking home individual gold was DHC’s Drake Daughtry. Now 40-5 on the year, Daughtry won the 126-pound weight class.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Daughtry said. “I broke my leg in the summer, so I was kind of unsure coming into this year, but through coaching and changing how I wrestle, I feel really good. After getting that 100th win, I’m just looking forward to conference and regionals and hopefully states.”

A-G’s Mason Ross walked away with two big accomplishments, being crowned champion in the 152-pound class and nailing down his own 100th win. Mason earned the milestone win early in the event, but he never lost focus on his way to the title.

“It’s crazy,” Ross said. “It doesn’t feel real. I’m the ninth person in A-G history to get 100, so it feels unreal.”

At 31-2 this season, Ross is showing why he is one to be feared come time for regional and state playoff matches. 

NP’s breakout freshman dual-athlete Raheem Jones also took home gold in the 182-pound division.

“I’m feeling great,” Jones said. “I have to thank God. I also have to thank my coaches and parents for their help. I just work hard and that pushes me through everything I do.” 

A-G’s Ray Darden is known best for his performances on the football field, but it was his hard work on the mats that earned him a first place finish at 195 pounds.

“I feel good. It felt great for all of this (hard work) to pay off,” Darden said. “I had to cut about six or seven pounds before I got here, so it was a big achievement to come in first today.”

Darden’s brother, Jeffery, also placed, taking second at 220 pounds.

“It feels good (to do this with him),” Ray Darden said. “I know he’s always right behind me, so I have to keep pushing forward, set the pathway for him. I realize he’s right on my coattails.”

Other individual winners included Adam Bullock, NP, 106 pounds; Ethan Lenyszyn, DHC, 113; Nolan Mills, DHC, 120; Phifer Ozimek, JHR, 132; Drew Sisk, JHR, 138; Dalton English, NP, 145; Shiheim Suggs, NP, 160; Cameron Jones, NP, 170; Jerell Belcher, SC, 220; and George Ayino, SC, 285.

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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High Schools

February 17, 2019

GREENSBORO — With the high school wrestling season officially in the books following Saturday night’s state finals, coaches are beginning to reflect on their seasons and plan ahead for next year. 

The North Pitt Panthers captured a Pitt County championship and 2-A Eastern…

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February 16, 2019

GREENSBORO — After two days of intense competition leading up to Saturday night, Ayden-Grifton senior wrestler Ray Darden brought home the state championship crown at 195 pounds during 2-A action at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Darden defeated Will Frady of Smoky Mountain via a 3-2…

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February 16, 2019

With 5:30 left in the fourth quarter on Friday, Ayden-Grifton looked to capitalize on its furious second-half comeback and take its first lead of the night against Greene Central on senior night. 

A quick bucket in transition from Josh Wright tied the game at 46, but a pass between the legs of…

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February 14, 2019

South Central boys’ basketball coach Chris Cherry picked up his 450th career win and the Falcons finished their regular season strong, winning 71-26 on senior night against D.H. Conley. The Falcons got off to a hot start, led by North Carolina commit Day’Ron Sharpe getting a putback…

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February 14, 2019

Farmville Central senior big man Dyquavis Wilkins is nearing the end of his high school basketball career, with just a trip to the playoffs left between him and graduation. Wilkins spoke with preps beat writer Jake Keator about his time with the Jaguars and his future.

Q: How did you get started in…

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February 13, 2019

South Central cruised to its 12th straight victory in front of a packed crowd, and North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, defeating C.B. Aycock, 56-25.

Williams visited Winterville to check in on commit and Falcons superstar forward Day’Ron Sharpe. 

“Coach Williams is a great man,…

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February 13, 2019

College signings continued at J.H. Rose on Tuesday morning, as four more athletes across three sports confirmed where they will be heading to play at the next level.

Former Rose football captain David Sawyer Jr. announced he would sign with Columbia University (N.Y.). The prestigious Ivy League…

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February 10, 2019

Multiple Pitt County high school wrestling teams competed in regional competitions Friday and Saturday. 

North Pitt led the way in the 2-A East Regional, held at Croatan High School, finishing third out of 25 schools with 118 points.

Raheem Jones finished first at 182 pounds after defeating…

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February 09, 2019

D.H. Conley and J.H. Rose swimming teams wrapped up the 2018-19 season at the 3-A state championship finals held at Triangle Aquatics Center in Cary Friday night.

JHR’s girls squad finished 11th with 78 points, highlighted by Madeline Smith winning the title in the 100 freestyle, finishing…

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February 08, 2019

D.H. Conley’s boys basketball team completed a three-game season sweep of crosstown rival J.H. Rose Friday night, defeating the Rampants 76-56.

The Vikings (13-8, 6-4) saw top production from a trio of seniors, including Jahmois Barnhill (18 points) and CJ Johnson (17 points). Gavin Russell…

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