MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Picking up right where they left off.
After winning the program’s fourth Class AA championship in West Virginia last winter, the Point Pleasant wrestling team opened its 2019-20 campaign by securing its first-ever title at the annual Lake Norman Duals held Saturday in the Tar Heel State.
The event itself featured powerhouse programs from the likes of the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and various other locations within the region, including West Virginia.
On this day, however, the Big Blacks were simply too much for the competition after posting a combined 50-20 overall record that included 30 pinfalls over the course of five head-to-head bouts.
PPHS had five grapplers produce perfect 5-0 marks over the course of the tournament, with another quartet ending up with identical 4-1 records.
In all, a dozen of Point’s 15 total competitors scored at least one pinfall victory. The 182-pound weight class was the only division that the Red and Black did not score at least one victory in over the weekend.
Reigning state champions Isaac Short (120) and Derek Raike (132) recorded four and three pinfalls, respectively, on their way to identical 5-0 records.
Christopher Smith (126) and Mitchell Freeman (145) — both state runners-up last season — also went perfect while recording three pinfall wins and four pinfall wins.
Logan Southall also went 5-0 at 170 pounds with three pinfall victories.
Parker Henderson (106), Mackandle Freeman (113), Justin Bartee (138) and Jacob Muncy (285) all posted identical weekends of 4-1 in their respective weight classes.
Henderson scored four pinfall wins, Freeman added two pinfall wins and Muncy scored one pinfall. Bartee — a defending state champion that went unbeaten as a freshman — scored three pinfall victories on the same day as his first-ever varsity setback.
Wyatt Wilson (152) and Juan Marquez (220) both finished the event with matching 3-2 records, with Marquez scoring the only pinfall between the pair.
Zac Samson (160) went 2-3 overall and had a pinfall win, while Nick Ball also recorded a pinfall during a 1-4 weekend at 195 pounds.
Tyler Hinzman was injured in his second match at 182 pounds and went 0-2 overall. Brayden Connolly was also 0-3 at 182 pounds.
The Big Blacks had their best collective showing against Richmond Hill (GA), going 11-3 overall as part of a 55-15 victory.
Point Pleasant went 10-4 against the likes of Veterans (GA), Christiansburg (VA) and Floyd E. Kellam (VA) en route to respective wins of 40-22, 54-18 and 52-12.
Only Hough (NC) kept PPHS from reaching double-digit victories in the head-to-head bout, but the Red and Black finished 9-5 overall on their way to a 49-18 triumph.
Besides the 30 pinfall wins, the Big Blacks also scored three victories by both major decision and forfeit. Point lost only six times by pinfall.
Point Pleasant makes its home debut on Wednesday when it welcomes Winfield as part of dual match on Alumni Night.
The winner of the Region IV event also advances to the first-ever state dual tournament to be hosted at The Greenbrier in early 2020.
The Big Blacks are also holding ‘Go Nuts for Donuts’ during the dual with Winfield. Jolly Pirate Donuts is sponsoring the event.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.