HAYS — Ten Buckin’ Elk grapplers boarded Bus #8 in the parking lot of Carpenter Gymnasium at 6:50 a.m. on Saturday. All 10 of these young men reached the podium as medalists in the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Tournament, which took place at North Wilkes High School.
On the strength of the outstanding individual performances of this small contingency, Elkin finished in second place in the team score, amassing 147 team points.
“This was really an outstanding day for us,” said Elkin Head Coach Matt Dunn. “It does not happen very often that everyone that you bring to a tournament wins a medal.”
Elkin was once again led by its seniors. Four of these young men reached the finals and two earned championships.
Jude Lloyd claimed his third MVAC title of his career by winning the 138-pound title. He pinned West Wilkes’ Dennis Edwards and Wilkes Central’s Nick Hartley before defeating Austin Bauguess of East Wilkes 14-7 in the finals.
Ethan Chipman captured his second MVAC championship of his career by taking honors in the 152-pound weight class. He pinned Alleghany’s Gus Wagoner and Ashe County’s Harley Miller before delivering a 10-1 decision over Isaac Powell of North Wilkes in the finals.
Ryan Patterson reached the finals in the 126-pound class with a first period pin of West Wilkes’ Dillon Hollar. Here he fell victim to East Wilkes’ Jesse Aguilar by virtue of a second-period pin.
Jerry Neese also reached the finals in the 170-pound weight class. Neese pinned Preston Mash of Ashe County and defeated Joseph Hampton of Alleghany 7-2 before falling to Wilkes Central’s Tyler Boles in the finals by a score of 12-7.
Junior Mikey Grubb advanced to the finals at 145 pounds by pinning Wilkes Central’s Jarred Yates and defeating Ashe County’s Drake Elliot 12-4. He fell to Cameron Reynolds of West Wilkes 6-2 in this conference finale.
Freshman C.J. Henderson pinned Bryson Shore of East Wilkes and Irecas McWhorter of Wilkes Central to advance to the finals in the 285-pound weight class. He dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision West Wilkes’ Jake Shepard in the final match of the tournament.
Tyjae Townsend was the lone Elk to capture a third-place finish. He accomplished this feat with wins over Brandon Vickers of North Wilkes, Devin Wood of Starmount and J.J. Mannan of Ashe County after falling to Riley Pruitt of Alleghany in his first match of the day.
Marcus Orta at 132 pounds, Cristian Parral at 195 pounds and Zach Tilley at 220 pounds all managed fourth-place finishes. Orta defeated Chandler Luffman of East Wilkes, lost to Trenton Hunt of Wilkes Central, pinned Colin Edwards of Alleghany and lost to Luffman in their second match of the day.
Cristian Parral defeated Houston Faw of North Wilkes but dropped a pair of matches to Carlos Aguilar of East Wilkes. Zach Tilley pinned Cody Triplett of Wilkes Central but lost decisions to Ashe County’s Zach Bare and West Wilkes’ Dallas Rash.
“It was great to come in today and wrestle like we did after our performance at Starmount on Wednesday,” Dunn continued. “I felt like we were emotionally flat on Wednesday, but we certainly were not today.”
With their performances at the tournament Patterson, Lloyd, Grubb, Chipman, Neese and Henderson earned all-conference honors. Townsend earned honorable mention all-conference honors.