The group has shouldered an even larger burden on behalf of a senior class that features three former NCAA qualifiers who have yet to regain their earlier form. At no time was this more apparent than UNC freshman and Chapel Hill native Corey Mock’s 157-pound bout with NCSU’s Colton Palmer.
Mock entered the bout on a two-match losing streak and with his team trailing 9-3.
Added pressure came from the fact that he’d be taking on an old friend from his rival Riverside High School. They had never wrestled previously, but had long been the subject of schoolboy debates about their relative merits.
Mock put a lid on those arguments, at least for the time being, pinning Palmer at 5:43 to tie the match.
“Getting that pin was huge for Corey,” coach C.D. Mock said. “It’s two of the better North Carolina kids going at it, and it’s a big win for him.”
From there, Mock took on the role of cheerleader, rooting on fellow freshman Andre Petroski, who looked tired late in his 174-pound bout but managed to score an overtime takedown of Quinton Godley to pull out a 4-2 victory.
Antonio Giorgio sustained a knee injury but managed a 9-5 win at 184 pounds, and Zac Bennett made it three straight wins by UNC freshmen when he scored a pinfall via a cradle against KaRonne Jones just 1:41 into the match.
Ben Brooks would ultimately drop a hard-fought 3-2 loss to put the only blemish on the freshman class’ evening, but the Tar Heels had already built an insurmountable 24-9 lead.
At the very least, Corey Mock says the experience of coming up together has forged a tight bond among the team’s freshmen that will help them as they continue to grow together during their college careers.
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