JohnMark Bentley, a redshirt junior, is the No. 8 wrestler in the 149-pound weight class.
As they go, so go the four-time defending ACC champion Tar Heel wrestling team. Tuesday night in Reynolds Coliseum, Bell and Bentley won. And so did UNC, beating N.C. State 16-14.
In the second match of the night, with the Tar Heels (2-2, 1-0 in the ACC) down 3-0 to the Wolfpack (4-6, 0-1), Corey Bell (14-3) faced Dustin Kawa
(7-8) in what looked to be an easy match.
It was anything but.
With 30 seconds remaining, Bell trailed 3-2. "I was nervous," he said. "Usually when I am losing, I end up losing the match. I may have come back once before."
But Bell did come back, although he did get a little help from the referee.
With 20 seconds left in the third period, the official called stalling on Kawa, who had already been warned once for practicing the illegal tactic. Bell was awarded one point as well as the momentum that he needed.
With five seconds until the match ended, he charged Kawa and performed a takedown, for which he was awarded two points, giving him the 5-3 victory and tying the match.
The match see-sawed back and forth as UNC's Nick Richmond, Ryan Adams and Brad Byers all won. Their wins counter-acted four Wolfpack victories.
When Bentley stepped on the mat for the penultimate match of the night, the score was 13-11 in the UNC's favor. A win would virtually assure victory.
But he was not intimidated by the man he faced and defeated 5-0, two-time ACC champion Tommy Davis (5-2).
"If I am going to reach my goal of being a national champion," Bentley said. "I need to wrestle the same way every time I step on the mat. I was pretty confident that if I kept going for seven minutes, I could make something happen."
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