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East Gaston took three individual championships to edge host Morehead for the championship of the 2000 Eden Holiday Classic on Saturday.

East Gaston was perfect in the championship round, with all four of the wrestlers it placed in the finals securing titles.Coupled with a pair of third-place finishes, the Warriors managed enough points to slip past the Panthers, who had entered the championship round with a six-point lead in the 22-team tournament.

East Gaston finished with 224 points to Morehead's 217.

``We'd have loved to have won it all, but I can't say I'm disappointed,' Morehead coach Greg Frey said. ``Not to take anything away from the kids, but I didn't think we'd finish this high. There are some really good teams in this tournament.'

The event was founded in 1973 and is one of the oldest wrestling tournaments in the state.

Morehead appeared to have the upper hand entering the championship round, also placing four wrestlers in the finals. But the Panthers took only three individual championships - Drake Dickenson at 119 pounds, Curry Pickard at 125 and Ian Lindenmuth at 189 - and didn't secure any third-place finishes.

The Panthers appeared upbeat despite the second-place finish.

``I didn't think we'd finish this high,' said Pickard, who won a state championship a year ago at 119 pounds. ``Everybody stepped it up a couple of levels today.'

One of the best matches in the championship round came when Dickenson stopped Ragsdale's Ryan Jordan 11-9 at 119 pounds.

``This is the second time we've wrestled this year and it's tougher to beat someone the second go-round,' said Dickenson, who won a state championship of his own last year at 112 pounds. ``They kind of know your moves after you've wrestled them once.'

Northside (Va.) finished third with 192 points, followed by Ragsdale (187), North Davidson (172), Rockingham (148), McMichael (133), Cave Spring, Va. (121), Southwest Guilford (121) and East Davidson (119).

Ragsdale placed six wrestlers in the championship round, but took home only two championships - Danny Richardson at 130 pounds and Russell Jarvis at 140 pounds. Jarvis was also named the tournament's most valuable North Carolina wrestler.

Ragsdale coach Andy Chapell said he was pleased with his team's showing and noted the Tigers will undoubtedly improve once they have their entire team competing. Three of the team's wrestlers were members of the school's football team and missed the tournament because they were playing for the state 3-A championship Friday night.

``It'll definitely strengthen our lineup to get our heavyweights back,' Chapell said. ``Our boys wrestled hard here tonight, but it's hard to compete as a team when you're forfeiting as many weight classes as we did.'

East Gaston coach Scott Goins said this is the third year the Warriors have competed in the tournament, and said the team makes the drive from Mount Holly because of the reputation of the event.

``This gives us a chance to see some of the best wrestlers around, both from North Carolina and Virginia,' he said.

Of the tournament's 22 teams, 14 were from North Carolina and eight were from Virginia.

Southwest Guilford had two individual champions - Jon Jones at 135 pounds and Robert Weeks at heavyweight. North Davidson's Lucas Hammond also claimed an individual championship at 145 pounds.\ Championship finals

103: Dusty McKinney (EG) def. Richard Anderson (Rags.) tech. fall.

112: Tripp Rogers (EG) pinned Caleb Creed (Rags.)

119: Drake Dickenson (Morehead) def. Ryan Jordan (Rags.) 11-9.

125: Curry Pickard (Morehead) pinned Joe Thompson (Northside).

130: Danny Richardson (Rags.) def. Keith Deal (Rock.) 7-4.

135: Jon Jones (SEG) def. Evan Kelso (Northside) 16-13.

140: Russell Jarvis (Ragsdale) pinned Barry Womack (GW Danville).

145: Lucas Hammond (ND) def. Jared Watkins (Rags.) 9-8.

152: Charles Mauldin (EG) def. Scott Dean (SWG) 12-4.

160: Kirby Williams (SWG) def. Ryan Miller (Morehead) 6-5.

171: Joe Pacheco (EG) def. Charlie Vernon (Rock.) 5-4.

189: Ian Lindenmuth (Morehead) def. Allyn Younger (McM) 13-4.

215: Kevin Capelety (Northside) pinned Brandon Zeigler (Will.).

Hwy: Robert Weeks (SEG) pinned Sam Banks (ED).


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