Panthers knocked out in state semifinals
NEWTON - Newton-Conover rolled past Piedmont before ever facing the heart of the Panthers' lineup, eliminating the defending state champions, 36-27, in the 2A state semifinal round of the dual team wrestling playoffs on Thursday.
The Red Devils (42-5) won nine of the first 10 matches to take a 36-3 lead.
With the draw of the match starting at 195 pounds, the Red Devils never faced the Panthers' top three wrestlers — Lucas Smith, Dylan Nelson and Parker Von Egidy.
The Panthers (32-6) suffered three straight one-point losses from 195 to heavyweight, which left the Panthers down 9-0 with the Red Devils' strongest part of the lineup coming up.
"I thought from 106 to 138 pounds we did exactly what we had to do," said Piedmont coach Todd Stokes. "This match was lost in the first three. Those were ones we were counting on and we didn't get them. They beat us up top and I've said all year long that's where we have to get our points. If we don't get bonus points, we're in trouble and tonight we lost them ..."
The Panthers got a bit of hope when sophomore 106 Reid Kiser picked up a decision to cut the deficit to 9-3, but that was Piedmont's only victory.
The rest of the Panthers young lower weight line up had a tough time scoring points but didn't give up pins leaving a small chance for a monster come back.
"That's what we needed," Stokes said of the young wrestlers. "At those weights they're better than us ... The problem is where we need to beat kids and we don't beat them. That's the problem and we didn't beat kids where we needed to win and I feel like crap for the kids from 106 through 138 pound kids who did exactly what they had to do for us to get to the state finals."
The loss ends a string of state championship match appearances.
Piedmont has now finished among the top four in 2A dual state competition four years in a row.
Thursday's 2A state semifinal match
Newton Conover 36, Piedmont 27
106: Reid Kiser (PM) d. Joseph Xiong 7-2
113: Austin Klutz (NC) tf. Austin Bagley 19-2
120: Coleman Carter (NC) d. Brett Underwood 1-0
126: Jonte Parker (NC) d. Daylan Conner 9-6
132: Franklin Wepner (NC) tf. Stephen Black 18-2
138: Casey Toomey (NC) tf. Dustin Baucom 15-0
145: Dan Avis (NC) p. Rhett Byrum 3:45
152: Lucas Smith (PM) forfeit
160: Dylan Nelson (PM) forfeit
170: Dalton Graybill (PM) forfeit
182: Parker Von Egidy (PM) forfeit
*195: Collin Minor (NC) d. Bryce Braswell 3-2
220: Andrew Gaither (NC) d. Kris Rookard 3-2
285: Ah-Ron Hope (NC) d. Will Groves 2-1