Ellis wrestlers edge South

Published 9:26 am Thursday, January 21, 2016

South Davie’s wrestling team has experienced a roller coaster of momentum swings.

In a span of seven days and three matches, the Tigers went 2-1. In those matches, the total score was South 135, opponents 125. They won 48-40 over North Davie, lost 43-42 to Ellis and won 45-42 over North Wilkes. That is pretty nuts.

Ellis had won three in a row before a 54-45 home loss to Southeast Guilford on Jan. 9.

The Jaguars got pins from Tyler Snyder, Julian Howard, Conner Walsh, Isaiah Saunders and Hunter Meacham. Nate Whitley won a decision. Shane O’Brien and Isaiah Martin received forfeits.

Ellis bounced back later that evening, outlasting West McDowell 54-45. Ellis won nine weight classes to McDowell’s seven, the winners being Zac Runge (forfeit), Whitley (pin), Zach Korczyk (pin), Dmitriy Oliveri (pin), Walsh (pin), Saunders (forfeit), Meacham (forfeit), Martin (forfeit) and Snyder (pin).

With Ellis clinging to a 48-45 lead in the final weight class at 83, the pressure was on Snyder. The seventh grader came through with a pin.

“Tyler is a very, very scrappy kid,” coach Justin Perry said. “He’s scrappy and never gives up. He’s going to be a great wrestler come next year. He’s learning and he wants to wrestle in his spare time.”

Four days after ending its misery against North Davie, South Davie left a home match against Ellis on Jan. 12 regretting what might have been. When all the weight classes were in the books, it was visiting Ellis 42, South 42.

The outcome was settled at the sixth criteria – most first points scored. Ellis held a 16-12 advantage in that department and left with a 43-42 victory.

“Everything was even until the sixth (criteria),” South assistant coach Russell Hilton said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time when it’s tied, it doesn’t go past this one. We won (49-48) on the sixth criteria (on Nov. 17 at North Iredell).”

It was an awesome match for fans. In 14 weight classes, each team came away with seven pins. South’s pins came from Chase Robertson at 92, Adam Szewczyk at 100, Ivan Poag at 122, Adrian Romero at 132, Tyris Griffin at 147, Bryan Pastor at 172 and Jose Ramirez at 184. Ellis’ pins were delivered by Snyder at 85, Whitley at 108, Korczyk at 115, Howard at 128, Walsh at 140, Saunders at 154 and Meacham at 162.

Korczyk and Saunders provided the biggest wins, beating a pair of 8-0 South wrestlers in Armando Garcia (115) and Kenneth Lee (154).

“I wish Korczyk knew how good he is,” Perry said. “He hits one or two moves, but he’s got them down to where he’s perfect on them. He’s put in the most time. He wrestled in the offseason and did all his extra work.

“Saunders and Whitley are my best workers. Saunders is a fun kid to be around. He’s probably my No. 1 captain this year. This year he’s really picked it up.”

Saunders overcame a hyperextended elbow in the showdown with Lee.

“I told him to battle through it because I thought he could get a pin,” Perry said. “He battled, finished the match and I was very proud of him. He showed his leadership there.”

South was in a must-pin situation going into the final two matches. Ellis had a 42-30 lead before Pastor and Jose Ramirez pulled South even at 172 and 184. There were double forfeits at 195, 220 and 250.

It was a coulda/shoulda night for the Tigers, who slipped to 7-2. Ellis improved to 7-2.

“We had three kids on their back and (the referee) just didn’t call the pin,” South coach Perry Long said. “I thought they were pins and he didn’t hit the mat. But hey, we didn’t get it.”

In the loss to Saunders, Lee bumped up to 154. Both guys were dinged up.

“Kenneth hurt his shoulder a little bit and (Saunders) tweaked his elbow,” Long said. “They were battling. Kenneth had him on his back and didn’t pin him. Kenneth got pinned in the third period.

“We had them on their back in the second period at 85 and didn’t stick him. And we ended up getting pinned in the third. That’s the kind of stuff that happened to us.”

Ellis pushed its winning streak over South to 12.

“Everywhere we won, I planned on winning there,” Perry said. “I planned on sneaking a couple other wins out, but we didn’t. I was very, very impressed with South. (Long’s) done a great job over there recruiting kids to come out and getting a full lineup out. They scrapped. Every single match was pretty tight.”

For Ellis, Howard, Meacham and Whitley all have 8-1 records. Whitley is a seventh grader.

“Howard is 100-percent athlete,” Perry said. “Unfortunately against West McDowell, he faced their best wrestler (and lost).

“Meacham is the most talented wrestler on our team. He’s extremely talented. He pays attention in practice. He’s a great leader, too.

“The good thing about Whitley, he’s got two older brothers who wrestled and he works hard. He gives it 100 percent every day.”

Korczyk’s record is 7-2. Saunders is 6-1 and Walsh 6-2.

North Davie brushed aside visiting Elkin 66-21 on Jan. 12. The Wildcats got pins from Brandon Newcomer, Blake Little, Kendall Stroud, Dylan Osborne, Josh Robinson, David Felts, Joe Johnson and Josh Wright. Gray Thurlo, Landon Miller and Victor Perez received forfeits.

The Wildcats improved to 9-3 with an easy 72-24 home win over Thomasville on Jan. 12. Miller, Perez, Little, Osborne, Ethan Wilkins, Robinson, Felts, Johnson and Paul Pollard had pins. John Motley won by disqualification, while Thurlo and Newcomer got forfeits.

Johnson might be the top athlete in the school. Last spring, he helped lead the baseball team to 10-3. Last fall, he helped the football team finish 7-1. Now he’s 11-1 on the mat at 160.

“I hope he sticks with wrestling, but I don’t know if he will,” coach Jamey Holt said. “I think he’ll end up doing football and baseball. His technique is pretty good because a lot of times he’s giving up a lot of height to people.”

Felts is 11-1 at 152.

“He doesn’t get himself in a lot of trouble,” Holt said. “He’s pretty smart out there. He wants (to avenge is only loss). He hopes he’s there Monday (in the open state tournament at Davie on Jan. 18).”

North’s lone unbeaten is Ballou-Tomel, who is 9-0 at 138.

“He’s a grinder,” Holt said. “He’s tough and he’s pretty smart, too. He doesn’t get himself in a lot of bad positions. He just does simple things. He likes the cross-face cradle. On his feet, he’s not going to take a bad shot.”

Robinson is 9-1 at 145.

“He should be undefeated,” Holt said. “He just got caught against South Davie. His quickness is what helps him. He’s real quick with his shots. Sometimes we have to slow him down. He’s got a solid double leg. He can get off the bottom quick. Up top, he can works a lot of things.”

Wright is 10-2, Newcomer is 8-2,  and Little 6-1 and Jason Wishon are both 6-1.

After falling just short to Ellis, South Davie responded with an impressive 45-42 home win over undefeated North Wilkes on Jan. 14.

“We wrestled our tail off,” Long said. “That team is good. We got us a big one.”

South’s winners were Darrin Jefferson (forfeit), Robertson (pin), Garcia (forfeit), Romero (11-9 decision in overtime), Griffin (pin), Lee (pin), Matthew Harris (pin), Avery Taylor (14-7 decision) and Ramirez (14-12 decision in overtime).

What a time for Harris to get is first middle-school win in two tries, the pin at 154 giving South a 39-24 lead. Romero and Ramirez pulled out overtime nailbiters at 134 and 184, respectively. Ramirez clinched victory when he provided a 45-30 lead. South lost by forfeit at 197 and 222, and there was a double forfeit at 250.

“We bumped up Ramirez and really needed him to win,” Long said. “He wrestled his tail off against a real strong kid. Taylor wrestled big for us (at 162). We threw Harris out there and he won a big match. I didn’t know if he would win, but he wrestled doggone good. Griffin won a big one for us.”

The Tigers (8-2) have shown dramatic improvement. After going 6-30 in a three-year span, they are 17-8 in two years.

“I’m telling you, we wrestled well,” Long said.