ROBBINSVILLE – History was made on Tuesday as eight local wrestlers punched their tickets to the 1A State Championship.
Six wrestlers from Mount Airy and two from East Surry won medals at the 1A West Regional Championships hosted by Robbinsville High School. These student-athletes are heading to the state championship competition scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 26 at Glenn High School.
These two schedules are no stranger to the state championship meet, but the 2021 season marked a “very first” event for the Granite Bears. Freshman Hope Horan won a silver medal in the 106-pound category to become the first woman in Mount Airy’s history to qualify for the state tournament.
Horan’s achievement comes just two years after Uwharrie Charter’s Heaven Fitch became the first woman in North Carolina history to win a state tournament medal, and just one year after Fitch became the first woman to win an individual state championship. Both Fitch’s medals came in the 106-pound category.
Fitch, now a senior, also qualified for the 2021 State Tournament, winning the 106-pound silver medal at the 1A East Regional Championship.
In addition to Horan’s silver medal, two bear veterans won gold medals. Reigning 1A 145 State Champion Franklin Bennett has won his weight class as he looks to repeat as a junior. Fellow junior Connor Medvar, who took third place in the 138 State Championship in 2020, is looking to climb a few podium spots this year. Medvar won the group of 152 with a 4-0 record on Tuesday.
Edwin Agabo, Saverio Lennon and Alex Cox of Mount Airy all qualified for their first state championships. Agabo was third in the 195 bracket, Cox was third in 126 and Lennon was fourth in 220.
For East Surry, two wrestlers qualified for the state championship for the first time. Eli Becker did so by taking third place in bracket 182, and Daniel Villasenor joined him by finishing fourth in bracket 195.
Mount Airy finished third in the overall team standings with 123.5 points. Only Avery County (245.5) and Robbinsville (163.5) had more points than the Bears.
East Surry had 33 points to place them 11th out of 24 teams.
The results for East Surry and Mount Airy are listed by weight class.
Mount Airy’s Horan received a BYE in the first round, then won their quarterfinal match against the No.3 seed when their opponent failed to put on any weight
Horan then pinned the group’s No.2 seed, Franciso Turja of Avery County, in the second period of the semi-final game. Horan lost the championship game via a technical crash to Luke Wilson of Robbinsville.
Wilson reached the 106th championship game of the 2020 State Championship before falling to Heaven Fitch.
The Bears’ Brison George won his first-round match in just 13 seconds, then was defeated by a technical crash in the second round by a potential regional champion: Benjamin Jordan of Avery County.
Jeremiah Wall of Mount Airy lost his first round match against Case Beasley of Robbinsville.
East Surry’s Colby Stowers lost their first-round match to Murphy’s Marcus Kephart via the fall.
Mount Airy’s Alex Cox beat Wilson Wilson of Avery County by technical fall in the first round and then pinned Murphy’s Kephart in the first period. Cox lost to future champion Jayden Nowell, who finished the tournament with a 25-0 record, in the next round.
Cox defeated Satchel McCoy of Polk County 2-0 in the consolation final for third place.
Caleb Johnson of Mount Airy lost to Chris Moses of Bessemer City by fall in the first round.
Israel Flores of East Surry was beaten by fall in the first round by Cole Nixon of Starmount.
Mount Airy’s Avery Poindexter beat Bessemer City’s Xavier Figueroa via a fall in the first round but fell to Kole Lambert of East Wilkes via a fall in the first period in the second round. Lambert would finish third in the class.
East Surry’s Troy Haywood lost to Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy’s Nathan Halliday via a fall in the second period. Halliday hit Mount Airy’s Bennett in the semifinals and lost by fall in the third period.
Bennett won a BYE in the first round, then took victories over Israel Ferguson of Swain County and Halliday of TJCA in the second and third rounds. Bennett won the championship in a 6-3 decision victory over Avery County’s Johnathan Cable. Bennett improved to 21-1 this season giving Cable only his second loss of the season.
Connor Medvar of Mount Airy won via falls in the first round in each of the first three rounds. Medvar beat Gage Michael of Hayesville in the first round, Lawson Woodard of Swain in the second and Bryson McCraw of Polk County in the semifinals.
Medvar beat Avery’s Tristan Adams 8-5 in the league. The junior improved to 23-0 this season and also recorded his 100th career victory.
East Surry’s Kaleb Tilley defeated Swain County’s Damian Lossiah in the first round but lost by fall in the second round to Braden Taylor of Cherokee. Taylor finished fourth in the class.
Mount Airy’s Aidan Horton defeated Lincoln Charter’s Greyson Mackie with a fall in the first period, then lost to eventual second-place finalist Chase Miller of Cherryville via a 3-2 decision.
Joshua Pack of East Surry lost to Starmount Caden Abernathy in the first round via a fall in the second period.
Mount Airy’s Luke Leonard got a BYE in the first round, then lost by fall to Jacob Knighton of Polk County. Knighton finished fourth in the class.
Edwin Ramirez of Mount Airy beat Will Moxley of Starmount 13-6 in the first round, then lost to Kage Williams of Robbinsville by fall in the first period.
Becker of East Surry had a BYE in the first round, defeated Ian Crowe of Cherokee by fall in the second round before losing to Williams of Robbinsville in the semifinals. It was only Becker’s second loss this year. Williams won the class and improved his record to 26-0.
Becker offered Avery County’s Dalton Towe, who won 170 championship silver in 2020, his second loss of the year in the consolation final to finish third.
Mount Airy’s Edwin Agabo beat Bradford Preparatory School’s Malik Salem via a fall in the second period in the first round, then pinned TJCA’s Wade Turner in the second round. Agabo lost to Rosman’s Jeshua Whited by a 10-7 decision in the semifinals.
Daniel Villasenor of East Surry defeated Camron Cook of Mitchell by fall in the first round, then defeated Blake Sain of Swain County by decision 8-7 in the second round.
Villasenor lost by fall in the semifinals to Kyle Fink of Robbinsville. Fink was the 195 finalist in 2020 before points were taken from state champion Jackson Tumbarello of Mount Airy due to what the NC High School Association called a “timing issue.”
Agabo then beat Villasenor by fall in the consolation final.
East Surry’s Izaiah Gulledge received a BYE in the first round, then fell to Andrews’ Samuel Wood in the quarterfinals.
Mount Airy’s Lennon (Mt Airy) also received a BYE in the first round. Lennon beat Swain County to Kohlton Neadeau via a fall in the first period, but then fell to Avery County’s Zach Vance.
Andrews’ Wood beat Lennon by fall in the consolation final.
Mount Airy’s Matthew Bagley fell to Starmount’s Johnatan Argueta in the first round.
Kevin Blakeney of East Surry won by fall to Caleb Hovis of Cherryville by fall in the first round but lost to CJ Henderson of Elkin in the second round.