Roberson freshman Kylan Gilliand weighs about 88 pounds by his coach’s estimation.
Invariably, the wrestler is giving up close to 20 pounds to his opposition at 106 pounds.
Who better to send the Rams back to the NCHSAA 4-A dual team playoffs?
Some things still have to shake out the next two weeks, but Roberson (18-11, 4-2) is sitting pretty after Tuesday’s 38-33 win at McDowell.
Gilliand (15-22) clinched the match and likely a Mountain Athletic Conference 4-A championship for his team by outlasting the Titans’ Dante Quitman, 13-6.
“We survived,” Rams coach Damon Brown said of the match between the MAC’s only two 4-A programs.
“The wrestling overall in this conference is tough all over and there are some really good teams. When you get into matches like we had with McDowell, every little thing counts.”
The MAC officially recognizes a 3-A and 4-A champion in every team sport.
The NCHSAA dual team playoffs begin Feb. 3, and for seeding, Roberson would own the 4-A tiebreaker over McDowell (20-6, 2-2), which was scheduled to host North Buncombe (10-2, 4-0) on Thursday night.
The Black Hawks and Enka (18-3, 4-0) are both undefeated in the MAC and wrestle Tuesday night in Weaverville. North Buncombe is the host for the Jan. 31 MAC tournament as well.
Roberson’s individual winners on Tuesday were Gilliand, Seth Sicina (126 pounds), Oliver Lierz (132), Kameron Gilliand (138), Blake Mead (145), Isaac Jiminez (152) and Travis Miles (170).
Enka has an 11-year championship streak in the MAC and edged the Black Hawks, 31-28, last year in Candler. The Jets do not have another match between now and Tuesday which means the anticipation can fully set in.
“These are the kind of matches that I live for as a coach,” Enka coach Mark Harris said.
“It gets me excited just thinking about it. It’s going to be competitive and I think you will see athletes from both teams at their best. It’s not just good for the programs, it’s good for local wrestling. It creates a discussion about wrestling and that’s a great thing.”
Enka has a trio of individuals in the latest NCHSAA 3-A rankings published by RetroRankings.com – Phil Daub (third, 106 pounds), J.R. Banks (10th, 120) and Michael Cantrell (ninth, 145).
Daub is 36-1 and Cantrell is 30-7, while the following Jets have won 20 or more matches – Madison Tipton (113 pounds, 22-12), Banks (23-10), Charlie Putnam (126, 23-10), Jackson Singleton (138, 26-12), Kelly Brendell (182, 21-7) and Tray Edwards (heavyweight, 21-7).
North Buncombe’s state-ranked wrestlers are Aydan Arroyo (seventh, 126 pounds), Peter Simonovich (third, 182) and Mikhail Simonovich (first, 195).
Peter Simonovich (34-5) was the Black Hawks’ wins leader going into Thursday night, while Corbin Sluder (106 pounds, 21-14), Dmitriy Simonovich (126 pounds, 22-17), Logan Anderson (25-11), Taylor Rosynski (152, 27-9), Dylan Courtney (182, 25-17) and Mikhail Simonovich (22-2) had won 20 or more matches.
North Buncombe’s only two losses have come locally to North Henderson and Pisgah.
“We try to wrestle a competitive schedule, but this year has been a brutal schedule,” Black Hawks coach Lance Robinson said.