Area wrestlers stick with it for solid finishes

Uwharrie Charter Academy’s Doug Bowles lifts Mount Airy’s Connor Medvar in the air during the 170-pound bout in the Class 1-A finals Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

GREENSBORO – It was an encouraging start to the state tournament for Randolph County wrestlers Thursday. And not a bad finish either by Saturday.

Aside from state champions David Makupson (138 pounds, Class 2-A) of Trinity and Aldo Hernandez (132, Class 1-A) and Grayson Roberts (160 pounds, Class 2-A), there were solid performances that lasted all the way to their final matches.

Randolph County wrestlers excelled in the first rounds in Class 3-A and Class 2-A. Of the combined 15 entrants in those classes, 12 of them won in the opening round. And the three that lost in the first round won at least one consolation bout.

In Class 1-A, four of UCA’s 13 entrants won in the first round.

By the end, UCA teammates Byan Lackey (138) and Doug Bowles (170) were state runners-up, while several others placed in the top six.

Among those were four wrestlers in third place, including impressive bounce-back efforts from Asheboro’s Logan Lambeth in Class 3-A at 182 and Southwestern Randolph’s Clay Sugg in Class 2-A at 195.

In title bouts, Lackey was pinned in 49 seconds by Avery County senior Ethan Shell, who won his third state title. Lackey received a forfeit and recorded a major decision to reach the final.

Bowles suffered a 10-3 loss to Connor Medvar of Mount Airy in the final. Medvar was the 152-pound state champion in Class 1-A last year.

Bowles notched a 39-second pin of Cherokee’s Darius Saunooke in the quarterfinals and a pin of Avery County’s Seth Blackledge in 2:31 of the semifinal.

Lambeth and Sugg racked up five consecutive wins for their third-place spots.

Lambeth lost by a 4-3 decision to Pisgah’s Alex Almaraz in his opening bout. He responded by posting a 9-0 decision against First Flight’s Gage Tomlin. Then came a 12-4 decision against St. Stephens’ Andre Britt, a 7-2 decision against West Carteret’s Hiroki Cruz, an 8-3 sudden-victory outcome against Union Pines’ Nicholas Mascolino and then a second-period pin of Harnett Central’s Jose Zambrano.

That was an ideal way to cap his high school career.

“Pinning the dude in my third-place match,” Lambeth said of his highlight.

How did he recover from the opening-day disappointment? “Support from my coaches and friends and family,” he said.

Sugg lost via pin in the first round to eventual champion Owen Clark of Newton-Conover before rattling off five wins in a row, beginning with a third-period pin of North Pitt’s Alexis Lar Ramirez in 3:50 in the first consolation round. Next came a 49-second pin of North Carolina School of Science and Math’s William McMahon, an 11-5 decision against Bandys’ Zachory Evans, a 2-1 squeaker against Forbush’s Luke Hurley and a 6-2 decision against East Surry’s Daniel Villasenor.

Providence Grove’s Brooks Freeman (182, Class 2-A) placed third, taking a smoother route early on. Freeman opened with a 9-3 upset of Bartlett Yancey’s Dylan Wall. Freeman then secured a third-period technical fall against West Lincoln’s Braxton Young in the quarterfinals.

Then Freeman was derailed by East Surry’s Eli Becker’s second-period pin. He got back on track with an 8-3 decision against Raydyn Brooks of Bandys before finishing by dominating Oxford Webb’s Nicholas Harris, who didn’t score in Freeman’s technical fall victory in 2:43.

UCA’s Brandon Jordan was third at 113. After a loss in the first round, he won his next three matches, two of those by pins. He stuck Leadership Academy’s Cooper Wingate in 1:35 of the third-place match.

Fourth place went to Asheboro’s Xavier Santos (113, 3-A), Trinity’s Spencer May (113, 2-A), UCA’s Ethan Hines (106, 1-A) and UCA’s Jaden Maness (182, 1-A).

Santos, the Midwest Regional champion, edged East Lincoln’s Devean Huskey 6-5 to start the states. Santos followed that by defeating West Brunswick’s Marquis Shaw 7-2. His title hopes ended in a semifinal loss to eventual champion Charlie Sly of Cramer. Then Santos won by a decision and lost by a pin.

Trinity’s Spencer May pinned Louisburg’s Brandon Nolasco-Rayo to open competition. He lost in the quarterfinals in a 5-3 decision to R-S Central’s Sumter Horton. In the consolation bracket, May posted back-to-back pins and a decision before he was pinned by Mount Pleasant’s Trent Almond in the third-place match.

Hines lost in his first match and then won twice before losing. Maness took a similar path to fourth place, though receiving a forfeit in his first consolation assignment.

Sixth-place spots went to Asheboro’s Luke Lambeth (160, 3-A) and Providence Grove’s Colton Wood (285, 2-A).

Luke Lambeth topped Dixon’s Shawn Disbennett 6-0. Lambeth was on the other end of a shutout in a 3-0 quarterfinal loss to Foard’s Zane Birtchet. He then scored a 32-second pin and won by decision before dropping his last two bouts by decisions.

At 285, Providence Grove’s Colton Wood registered a 16-second pin of Trask’s Javier Corona. Wood had to go the distance in the quarterfinals, losing 5-3 to Brevard’s Jarek Stewart-Karolweics. Wood then notched two pins before he was pinned twice.

Others from the county had encouraging starts before stalling and ending up short of a final place finish.

Diego Gutierrez (126) of Asheboro handled Orange’s Dillon Heffernan 11-4 before losing in a 6-5 decision to Swansboro’s Isaac Gawronski.

Asheboro’s Michael Brady (195) fell in a 4-2 overtime decision to West Carteret’s Joshua Knipe. He bounced back with an 11-4 handling of Scotland County’s Michael Locklear before he was ousted.

Trinity’s Brayden Hall (106) needed overtime to defeat Southwest Onslow’s Carter Duhan 6-5. In the quarterfinals, he fell in a 3-2 decision to Kaden Shoup of Shelby Burns before posting a shutout in his first consolation-bracket match.

Southwestern Randolph’s Luke White (132) flattened Trask’s Christian Still in one minute. White dropped a 9-6 decision to West Craven’s Walker Bell in the second round. White had another pin before he was eliminated in a one-point loss

Casey Hohn (152) of Trinity stuck Burlington Cummings’ Zyneal White in the second period. But Hohn was a first-period pin victim against Newton-Conover’s Jason Brawley in the quarterfinals. Then came a pin for Hohn before he lost an elimination bout by two points.

By Bob Sutton