Olmedo sets record for wrestling wins

Published 9:33 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

Davie wrestler Isaiah Olmedo didn’t have a storybook ending to his career – very few do – but it was still a special year for the senior.

Although he didn’t walk away with a state championship, he took third place in the 182 weight class and set a new record for single-season wins.

The individual state championships were held at the Greensboro Coliseum on Feb. 18-20. Olmedo and juniors Hunter Smith and Kyle McCune all made their first appearances in the state meet.

Olmedo won his first-round match 7-3. After lasting more than five minutes against Clayton senior Michael Lyons in the quarterfinals, Olmedo was pinned in the third period. Lyons went on to runner-up with a 53-3 record.

It takes a ton of grit to endure defeat and then make a run to third. Olmedo did just that with a series of hard-nosed performances, winning 6-3 to tie Zack Vernon’s record for wins at 56. Olmedo broke the record with an 8-3 decision. He followed that with a first-period pin.

Olmedo’s opponent in the third-fourth match was Glenn senior Jonathan Pascual-Hernand, who was 2-1 against Olmedo this season. A week earlier in the regional, Pascual-Hernand pounded Olmedo with an 11-3 major decision.

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

Olmedo backed up those words, edging out a 4-3 decision to capture the bronze medal. Pascual-Hernand finished 58-11.

“It was a good one,” coach Buddy Lowery said. “I was proud of him.”

The champ at 182 was Southeast Guilford senior Garrett Church, who went 55-1. Three of Olmedo’s four losses this year were to Pascual-Hernand and Church.

After finishing first in the Central Piedmont Conference and third in the Midwest Regional, Olmedo went 5-1 at the Greensboro Coliseum to finish with a 59-4 record.

“There were one or two times where he got mule-headed and didn’t listen, but he was able to pull through,” Lowery said. “He wrestled hard. He showed heart.”

Olmedo and Smith became the 16th and 17th War Eagles to reach 50-plus wins in a season. The others: Vernon 56-5 in ‘09, Michael Waters 55-5 in ‘11, Aaron Hollifield 55-4 in ‘06, Matt Cusack 55-6 in ‘09, Timmy Allen 54-1 in ‘05, Hunter Smith 54-8 in ‘16, Parker Correll 53-4 in ‘15, Russell Hilton 53-6 in ‘06, Hilton 52-6 in ‘05, Waters 52-7 in ‘09, Shelton Sales 52-11 in ‘09, Jonathan Hupp 51-8 in ‘09, Hollifield 50-3 in ‘05, Patrick Lowery 50-1 in ‘01, Kyle Smith 50-7 in ‘05 and Waters 50-1 in ‘10.

Olmedo went 121-35 in his four-year career. His twin brothers, Jesus and Anthony Olmedo, went 32-12 and 40-19, respectively, as freshmen, meaning the Olmedo boys combined for 131 wins. Oh, and one thing more: I. Olmedo put up the sixth-best winning percentage (.936) in a 50-win season.

That’s a pretty good way to go out.

“He wants to go into youth ministry,” Lowery said. “He’s mentioned going to Piedmont Bible College. He’s got four (younger) brothers. He’s a good role model for his brothers. Jesus and Anthony look up to him at the high school. Isaiah is a good one.”

Smith fared less well, going 2-2 at 113, but he had a fabulous season with a 54-8 record.

After getting a pin in the first round, he suffered a 16-1 technical fall in the quarterfinals. He bounced back with a pin before losing 15-0 in the next consolation match.

Smith won the CPC at 113, placed second in the regional and will enter his senior year with a career record of 127-39. He made history by tying for the third-most wins through a junior season. Waters had 148 victories after his junior year. Hilton ranks second at 128. Smith tied Hollifield at 127.

McCune went 1-2 at 170, but the effort and will were there. He suffered a heartbreaking 5-3 loss in the first round. He responded with a pin before losing 14-7. After placing third in the regional, he finished with a 42-22 record.

“They gave (McCune’s first-round opponent) a takedown on the line,” Lowery said. “We thought McCune had a takedown on the line and we didn’t get it. … He came back and wrestled hard the rest of the time.”

As a team, Davie made little noise, finishing 20th out of 66 teams. Southeast Guilford won the state championship with 119.5 points. Davie had 26.

“If you want to get further along and get better, they’re going to have to do something in the offseason,” Lowery said. “I mean you see what all Isaiah has done and he finished third. If you’re going to finish any better than him and have dreams of that, you’re going to have to do at least as much as he does. We’ve got to get bigger and better.”