SMITHFIELD, N.C. – The Neuse Charter High School Wrestling team made school history recently during the NCHSAA 1-A Carolina Conference Individual Championship Tournament. The team won nine medals with two individual conference champions, a first for the 10-year old charter school.
On Sat. Jan. 28, 2017, teams from Neuse Charter, Tarboro, Manteo and Princeton competed at Rosewood High School in Goldsboro. Rosewood’s team also competed as the defending 1-A State Team Champions and current number one ranked 1-A team in the state. The round-robin style tournament determined individual champions in each weight division.
NCS junior Luke Sullivan (145lbs) and freshman Griffin Lloyd (220lbs) captured Neuse Charter’s first-ever individual conference championships. Other medalists included Elliott Sullivan 2nd (113); Josh Cole 3rd (126); Kevin Gomez 2nd (132) Alex Gonzales 2nd (138) Isaiah Deck 2nd (160) Jimmy Cuccurello 2nd (182) Daniel Yates 3rd (195).
“I am super proud of all our wrestlers this season,” said Coach Chase Crocker, in his second season providing leadership for the four-year-old program. “They have put in so many hours of hard work and it shows on the mat with some of the success we have had. Making the playoffs and having conference champions are team goals each year, and for the first time in school history we were able to do both.”
Coach Eric Brownlee saw the “firsts” of the tournament as a measure of the progress of the program.
“Very proud of all our kids,” Brownlee said, “but especially of our two champions Luke and Griffin. Griffin pinned his way through the finals to become our first freshman to ever win a tournament and a conference championship. The team’s 2nd place finish behind the defending state champion team speaks volumes about where Coach Crocker and these kids are taking the program.”
The team finished the year with a winning record of 23-12 and is now looking forward to regional level tournaments over the next couple of weeks. Their goal is qualify for state level competition in late February.