Cape Fear Wrestlers Shine in WRAL Tournament

While most of Cumberland County’s attention was focused on the annual Holiday Classic basketball tournament last week, the Cape Fear High School wrestlers were making headlines of their own in the 50th annual WRAL HSOT Invitational Wrestling Tournament held at Knightdale High School. 

The Colts finished second as a team to a strong squad from Wilmington Laney, scoring 132.5 points to Laney’s 282.5.

The Colts crowned three individual champions in the tournament.

Winning at 220 pounds was Landon Sargent, who improved his 

record to 15-1 with a 4-3 decision over Trystan Richardson of Laney. It was Sargent’s win that boosted Cape Fear into second place in the team scoring.

Taking the 160-pound weight class was Cape Fear’s Calan Staub. Now 13-1 for the season, Staub beat Logan Haseley of Corinth Holders with an 8-3 decision.

The third Cape Fear champion was 106-pound Samuel Aponte. He is now 16-1 following a 9-7 decision of Conner Hibberd of Middle Creek.

The Colts had one other wrestler to place in the top four in his class. Gatlan Thompson, now 12-6, was the No. 4 finisher in the 170-pound weight class.

• Speaking of the Holiday Classic, instead of being called Cumberland County, this year it would have been more aptly named Everybody Else.

Of the four brackets of tournament play, only one, the girls’ Gil Bowman bracket, was won by a county team. Terry Sanford’s girls remained unbeaten with a 71-49 win over Richmond Senior.

The other three brackets were won by outside teams. In the Doris Howard girls’ bracket, Garner beat Cape Fear, 72-52.

For the boys, New Hanover won the Ron Miller bracket, beating Westover, 57-40. The Roy McNeil bracket went to West Carteret with a 60-53 win over E.E. Smith.

Heading into the New Year, the best records for the boys’ teams in Cumberland County belong to Seventy-First in the United 8 Conference and Pine Forest in the All American, both 7-2.

As noted earlier, Terry Sanford’s girls are the only unbeaten county team at 9-0. They have the best overall record in the All American. Next best is E.E. Smith at 8-1.

In the United 8, the Seventy-First girls are 5-1. 

• I’d like to take a moment to wish everyone who celebrates the holiday the merriest of Christmases. Please be sure to come back for next week’s installment of Earl’s Pearls as we’ll announce the top 10 high school and local sports stories for 2021, along with a special personal announcement. Stay tuned.