FAYETTEVILLE — The Croatan wrestling team finished 12th out of 29 teams Saturday in the ultra-tough Boneyard Bash at Jack Britt High School.
Liberty (Bealeton, Va.) won the 20th annual event with 232.5 points, followed by Pinecrest with 205.5. Hough took third with 192.5, followed by Laney with 175 and New Bern 140.5.
Carolina Forest (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) placed sixth with 136.5, followed by Lake Norman with 120.5, Jack Britt 110.5, Cary 102.5, Pine Forest 97, Lumberton 92 and Croatan 79.
The Cougars had fared well in previous prestigious tournaments this season, winning Dixon’s Bulldog Invitational and its own Beast of the East while taking second in New Bern’s Swiss Bear and fifth in Chapel Hill’s Tiger Holiday Classic.
Jacob Caldwell (31-7) gave Croatan its top placer at the Boneyard, taking fourth after falling by a 3-2 decision to Carolina Forest’s Braedon Bailey (28-1) in the 106-pound third-place match.
Caldwell suffered a similarly tight loss in the semifinal to fall to the consolation round, dropping a 4-2 decision to Laney’s Mark Samuel (36-0). Caldwell then beat New Bern’s Paul DeNoia (19-5) by a 5-2 decision in the consolation semifinal to advance to the third-place match.
Dakota Gray (30-11) garnered a sixth-place finish after losing a 9-2 decision to New Bern’s Jaidon Bennett (21-7) in the 182-pound fifth-place match. Gray fell in the second round and then won four matches in the consolation round before getting pinned by Fairmont’s Derrick Baker (25-0) in 1:19 in the consolation semifinal.
Croatan will next host a 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference tri-match on Wednesday, Jan. 22 versus East Carteret and Pender.