North Carolina also had impressive performances from redshirt sophomore Zach Sherman and redshirt junior Kennedy Monday in the 141 and 165-pound weight classes, respectively. Both finished as the runner-up in each of their brackets.
Monday easily won his first two matches before having to face Quentin Perez of Campbell in the championship bout. Monday scored a late takedown against Perez but was pinned in the waning seconds of the match.
For Sherman, the road wasn’t as easy. He needed to win four matches in order to reach the finals but lost a tight one to Joshua Heil of of Campbell by a 5-4 decision.
The Tar Heels saw four other wrestlers place in the Southeast Open. Redshirt senior A.C. Headlee and redshirt sophomore Jaime Hernandez each made it to the semifinals in the 157 and 133-pound tournaments, respectively.
Who stood out?
Gunning was the clear star for North Carolina over the weekend. He had his coming out party and showed Scott that he can be counted on to perform in the heavyweight class.
Monday also impressed after missing much of last season with an injury. With his return, the 165-pound wrestler has a lot of expectations falling on his shoulders this season, but handled himself well in this event.
When was it decided?
This tournament didn’t keep team scores, but the most intense match may have been the 165-pound final. Monday was battling against an unranked wrestler and was looking for the win late, but was flipped onto his back for a pin.
It was a disappointing finish for Monday’s return to the mat, but he will have plenty of chances this season to show his talent.
Why does it matter?
Many of UNC’s best wrestlers didn’t compete this weekend, but Scott learned a bit about his team. He learned that Gunning should suffice in his weight class and Monday can finally wrestle healthy again.
It will be interesting to see what lineup Scott uses once dual meets start.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Ann Arbor on Friday, Nov. 8, for a matchup with the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines.
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