Camp Lejeune Living: Dixon High Wrestling, Holly Ridge, NC

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dixon High Wrestling, Holly Ridge, NC

The Daily News
Dixon is two wins shy of bringing home the NCHSAA 1-A state dual wrestling championship.
But those wins won’t come easy, a fact not lost on coach Dal Tomlinson, which means it’s also not lost on his Bulldogs.
“I’ve looked at all of the teams,” Tomlinson said. “We all have basically the same type of record and same type of wrestlers. Our good guys are their good guys. So it’s going to be a tough match. Whoever ends up winning I think they’re all going to be good, close matches.”
Still, the favorite has to be the host of the four-team semifinals and finals, West Wilkes, which beat Rosewood 60-10 in last year’s finals and lost to Topsail 44-28 in the championship two years ago.
Over the last three years the Blackhawks are 59-8.
“I would agree with that,” Tomlinson said of West Wilkes being the favorite. “Home advantage is big. I have asked all of my co-workers that if they know any of our former students that are in that part of the same, call them and tell them to come yell for us because it’s a big deal. You go up there and, of course, they’re jacked up. They’re state champions.”
West Wilkes will have to wait, however. The Bulldogs (20-6) take on North Rowan (18-3) at 2 p.m. in one of two regional matchups, with West Wilkes (17-3) battling Robbinsville (24-6) in the other semifinal.
The winners square off at about 5 p.m. for the state title.
North Rowan is led by two 2010 state qualifiers, Tyler Powers (125 pounds) and Thomas Fowler (160), according to coach Tim Pittman. Last Saturday, Powers beat defending state champ Daniel Hernandez of East Montgomery 5-2 in the 125-pound finals of the Yadkin Valley Conference tournament.
There are a couple interesting twists for the Bulldogs.
Dixon’s baseball team lost to West Wilkes in the three-game 1-A state finals series last year — a team that included right fielder Joey D’Zurilla, who is one of Dixon’s standout wrestlers at 171 pounds.
Also, West Wilkes assistant coach Mitch Stegall was a two-time state champion for the Bulldogs under then-coach Homer Spring — at 171 pounds.
Dixon will be seeking its fourth state title in just over two decades. The Bulldogs won what was then the combined 1-A/2-A state championships in 1990, 1992 and 1994 under Spring, who is now Dixon’s athletic director.
While he didn’t predict Dixon would bring back another title, Tomlinson said there’s no doubt in his mind the Bulldogs can win it all.
“I just told our guys looking at the stats from their guys and our guys and who they wrestled and who we wrestled, yeah, I think if we wrestle like we can, like we have the potential to, then, we can,” he said.
“But there’s no doubt in my mind it’s going to be just as tight as the other night with Central Academy (36-28 win in the second round). That if we win, it’s going to be a squeaker. But I also think we lose, it’ll be a squeaker.”
Tomlinson was asked what was the key for Dixon to win it.
 “The key (is) going to be if we have to lose some matches, then keep those matches at a minimal loss, meaning to keep them at the minor decision, major decision. No tech falls, no pins,” he said. “And then the matches that we can win, we need to pin. That is the key. And that is what the other coaches would say to their team, too.
“Keep the losses small, and keep the wins big.”
North Rowan advanced to the semifinals with victories over Pamlico 45-18 and Ayden-Grifton 43-28 while West Wilkes made it by downing Swain County 45-35 and Bishop McGuiness 42-25. Robbinsville downed Alleghany 63-13 and North Wilkes 57-13.

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