NEWLAND — With only eight wrestlers participating, the Buckin’ Elk grapplers fared extremely well at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association western regional tournament on Friday and Saturday. This event took place in Newland at Avery High School.
With five finalists and three wrestlers advancing to the consolation semifinals, the Elks amassed 139.5 team points, finishing fourth out of 22 teams. Three of the five finalists won individual championships.
Jude Lloyd claimed Elkin’s first regional championship of the evening in the 138-pound weight class. He was also named Most Outstanding Wrestler by vote of the coaches.
Lloyd pinned Cooper Cable of Robbinsville and Jesse Bell of Queen’s Grant to advance to the finals. He posted an 11-1 major decision over Joan Ramirez of Mount Airy to claim the title.
In the 145-pound weight class, Mikey Grubb felled Avery’s Dalton Towe, Hayesville’s Logan McClure and North Rowan’s Tsion Delaney to reach the finals. He pinned Starmount’s Joshua Pardue to obtain his regional title.
Jerry Neese pinned Nick Graham of Andrews and Luke Rayfield of Cherryville before defeating Isaac Wilkinson of Robbinsville 2-0 in the semifinals of the 170-pound weight class. In the finals, he posted an 8-3 decision over Mount Airy’s Jackson Tumbarello to collect his regional championship.
Tyjae Townsend pinned Alec Padgitt of Mountain Island Charter and posted a 12-1 decision over Jonah Hayes of Avery to reach the finals in the 120-pound weight class. He fell to Robbinsville’s Braden Millsaps 16-1 in the championship match.
Ryan Patterson felled Cherryville’s Phillip Gortoy and Swain’s Lucas Brown to advance to the 132-pound finals. In the championship match, he was pinned by Cade Millsaps of Robbinsville.
All five of Elkin’s regional finalists qualified for the NCHSAA Individual Championships this Friday and Saturday. This event will be held in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Elkin’s other three wrestlers advanced to the consolation semifinals also known as the “blood round.” A victory in this stage puts the victor into the State Championships.
At 145 pounds, Ethan Chipman pinned Gus Wagoner of Alleghany and North Rowan’s Paul Wilhoit, before dropping a 3-1 decision to Payne Anderson of Robbinsville. In the consolation semifinals, Sam Sneed of Cherokee prevailed with a 7-4 victory to bring Chipman’s season to an end.
Zach Tilley pinned Samuel Shook of Mitchell before dropping a 4-1 decision to Starmount’s Caleb Money in the 220-pound weight class. In the consolation bracket, he pinned Caleb Combs of East Wilkes and posted a 6-4 sudden victory win over Andrews’ Sammy Christensen before falling in the “blood round” to Darren Williams of North Rowan 10-5.
C.J. Henderson pinned Andrews’ Hunter McGaha before surrendering a 5-2 decision to Mitchell’s Hudson Boone in the 285-pound weight class. In the consolation bracket, he pinned Wyatt Rayburn of Murphy and served up a 7-2 decision over Rosman’s Gabriel Shipman before his “blood round” loss to Morgan East of East Surry by means of fall.