Wrestling wins its final home match
By Ryan Kelly
The UNCP Braves were dominant as they defeated their rival the Anderson Trojans 29-13 on Feb. 8 in the annual “Battle for the Belt.”
It was a memorable finish for Seniors Willie Hilton, Derek Brunson and Adam Dedmon, who all were victorious in their last home matches of their careers.
Photo by Ryan Kelly
UNCP wrestler Willie Hilton celebrates the Braves victory by raising the Carolina Collegiate Championship belt. Hilton is 24-5 on the season.
The Braves wanted to send a message to the Trojans and did so by winning seven of the 10 individual matches.
With the win, UNCP reaches the .500 mark with an 8-8 team record after a disappointing season last year. Anderson falls to 3-16.
Willie Hilton finished off Chris Francis with an 11-2 major decision in the 149-pound contest, moving his win total for the season over 25.
Joining him in the 25 win club is fellow All-American Derek Brunson, who won the 197-pound class by default with a forfeit from the Trojans. Freshman Derving Rios also won by forfeit.
The Jones center was filled with energy and the Braves were in their most intense mindset of the season.
UNCP's very own living legend and former head coach P.J. Smith gave live play-by-play on the loudspeaker, often times giving over-the-top commentary and inciting the fans in the stands as well as the wrestlers on the mat.
Sophomore J.J. Davis put the Braves in control after a 13-2 major decision over Matt Godwin in the 165-pound bout.
Rashaad Saunders continued to improve on his season by defeating fellow sophomore Nathan Wade 8-4.
Looking ahead to next season, Saunders looks to step up and be a significant contributor to the team.
Dedmon posted an 11-4 decision against T.J. Turner in the 125-pound match. Sophomore Mike Nash won the 141-pound bout over Anthony DiCarlo 9-6.
UNCP has the distinction of serving as host of the 2007 NCAA East Regional Tournament on Feb. 23-24.