3 wrestlers qualify for state

Published 9:10 am Thursday, February 18, 2016

Davie’s wrestling team is having a down year by its lofty standards, but there are definitely bright spots.

Senior Isaiah Olmedo and juniors Hunter Smith and Kyle McCune finished in the top four in the Midwest Regional to qualify for the state meet. All three will be making their first appearances in the state this week.

The regional was held at Northwest Guilford on Feb. 12-13. Davie took sixth out of 26 schools, its lowest finish since capturing the championship in 2009. Between 2010-12, the War Eagles were second for three straight years, and then they were fourth three years in a row.

As expected, West Forsyth rolled to first with 200 points. Southeast Guilford had 176, Southern Alamance 161, Ragsdale 126, Smith 120.5 and Davie 96.

Smith Runner-Up

Smith went 3-1 to finish second in the 113 weight class. “I felt  like I had prepared good enough to do what I needed to do,” Smith said.

He torched overmatched opponents in first two rounds, pinning both in the first period. Then Smith made a statement, beating a defending state champion, junior Ethan Hnasko of West Forsyth, in the semifinals. After getting a first-period pin and a technical fall, Hnasko, who won the 2015 crown at 106, entered the semis with 48 wins against five defeats. He was undefeated all-time against Smith, including a 3-0 decision earlier this season.

Smith finally cleared the Hnasko hurdle, winning 6-4 after it was 0-0 for two periods. Smith trailed 2-0 before whipping out a five-point move.

“There was a lot on the line,” Smith said. “Going to state was definitely one of my goals and to get that goal, I had to get through Ethan. So I went out there and gave it all I had and I was able to beat him.”

“He manages to win matches that he’s not supposed to win,” Olmedo said. “That’s what has impressed me about Hunter.”

In the finals, Smith lost 7-4 to sophomore McKray Mundy of Southern Alamance. Mundy improved to 48-7, while Smith slipped to 52-6. He’s tied for ninth in Davie’s single-season wins.

“He might have expended all his energy in the semifinals,” coach Buddy Lowery said.

Olmedo Places Third

Olmedo closed within two wins of matching the single-season record on his way to third at 182. He won four of five matches over two days.

“I was one match from (qualifying for the state) last year,” he said. “It’s a nice feeling to finally get there.”

Olmedo blistered his first two opponents in the first period. Then Glenn senior Jonathan Pascual-Hernand, the eventual runner-up with a 54-8 record, beat Olmedo for the second time this year, 11-3.

It was just the third loss all season for Olmedo, who has 54 wins to tie for fifth on the single-season list. The other setback came from Southeast Guilford. Olmedo could run into Glenn and SEG this week at the Greensboro Coliseum.

“(Pascual-Hernand) just outworked me – something that won’t happen next time,” Olmedo said.

Olmedo responded beautifully, winning 13-1 and 11-5 to complete a 4-1 tournament.

How did he pick himself up and get back to work? “Just knowing my ultimate goal is to glorify God in this, and I knew I had worked too hard not to make it to states and hopefully win it,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

“He’s worked so hard,” McCune said. “He knows it and he doesn’t want to give it up.”

“He’s worked hard and he’s made a lot of people around him better,” Lowery said.

McCune Places Third

After enduring 19 losses during the season, McCune made a startling run to third at 170.

“It was exciting and it was surprising,” McCune said. “I got where I needed to be in the bracket.”

After winning 8-1 in the first round, McCune got pinned in the quarterfinals. Man, did he get off the canvas and put together a run. He got a pin, he won a 6-2 decision, he got a pin and he won a 7-2 decision to finish 5-1 for the tournament and improve his record to 41-20.

McCune credits Olmedo for molding him in practice to become better and better.

“(Olmedo’s) always working hard,” McCune said. “I look over and see him and then I want to do more. He’s always supportive and everything.”

“He did really good,” Olmedo said. “I was really impressed with how he managed to push through the whole tournament the way he did.”

“That’s what we expected from him all along,” Lowery said. “It’s one of those things where you better produce this weekend or you’re going to be at home. He was super aggressive.”

As a team, Lowery had no gripes with Davie’s effort. It’s hard not to be pleased when all 14 War Eagles come away with at least one win.

Junior Tommy Trader went 3-2 at 126. Senior Isaiah Whitley (120), junior David Sigmon (132) and junior Will Allen (138) all went 2-2. Sophomore Josh Shore (106), sophomore Joseph Myers (145), sophomore Hunter Strickland (152), senior Nolan Osborne (160), junior Jesse Carter (195), freshman Jesus Olmedo (220) and freshman Anthony Olmedo (285) had one win apiece.

Ten War Eagles have 29 or more wins, including Trader (43-20 record), Whitley (40-16), A. Olmedo (40-19), Shore (37-18), J. Olmedo (32-12), Allen (31-16) and Carter (29-16).

“We got about what we were supposed to,” Lowery said. “We didn’t wrestle bad.”