Wildcats claim county wrestling bragging rights

Published 8:57 am Thursday, December 28, 2017

On Nov. 9, North Davie’s wrestling team was 0-2. The Wildcats have developed a swagger in the weeks since, clicking off seven straight wins for the longest winning streak in five years.

After getting swept by South Davie last season and dropping three straight in the series, the Wildcats put nine pins, a technical fall and a major decision on the visiting Tigers on Dec. 12, resulting in a 63-36 win for North.

The Tigers fell back to earth, watching their 10-match winning streak end in their first loss since 51-45 to Ellis on Dec. 16, 2016. They entered 5-0 for their best start in 10 years, and they jumped on North 12-0 behind pins from Landon Nichols (83 weight class) and Reid Nail (90).

As it turned out, the showdown had little suspense as North responded with eight straight wins, including seven pins. Lane Hill (pin at 98), JT Richards (pin at 106), Blake Jenkins (pin at 113), Logan Yokley (pin at 120), Hunter Testa (pin at 126), Collin Bailey (10-0 major decision at 132), Sam Collins (pin at 138) and Jadon Davis (pin at 145) gave North 46 unanswered points.

Davis dug out of an 8-3 hole against Jack Jarvis.

“When the (120) match first started, I thought it was going to be a decision in Logan’s favor,” North coach Jamey Holt said. “He ended up getting a pin in the third.”

South’s Jesus Guzman received a forfeit at 152 and teammate Daniel Garcia erased a 9-1 deficit while pinning Sawyer Sheets at 160. North answered with Alex Mackey, who won by technical fall at 170 to push the Davie newcomer’s record to 4-1. He also put the margin out of reach at 51-24.

“He’s a new kid who moved in from Utah,” Holt said. “He’s just learning the sport right now. He’s strong and pretty physical. If he just learns a few things, he’s going to be tough.”

South’s Devonte Lyerly pinned at 182 and Keith Davis received a forfeit at 195 as South cut the deficit to 51-36.

For good measure, North’s Max Martinez and Brandon Logan got pins at 220 and 250, respectively, to end the night. Martinez was in a 0-0 tussle going into the third.

“I thought we would win from 98 to 132,” Holt said. “I thought 138 and 145 were going to be dogfights. I thought it was going to be fifty-something to forty-something.”

South coach Russell Hilton walked away disappointed.

“We didn’t wrestle well,” he said. “North wrestled better than us and they put it on us. We made a lot of mistakes and we beat ourselves in some places.

“We get to do it again (Jan. 16). Some of the matches we lost were because we made mistakes and we can fix those. At a couple places, they’re just better than us.”


Ellis’ match at Thomasville on Dec. 12 was a predictable 81-6 romp for the Jaguars. Jacob Perry, Charlie Frye, Isaac Webb, Ashton Douglas and Mark Dixon recorded pins. Gabe Rhyne won a decision. Thomasville handed forfeits to Kevin Morgan, Chase Hilton, Ethan Deas, Bryson Parker, Will Burris, Danny Olmedo, Chandler Allen and Kyle Mabe.


North hosted Ellis on Dec. 15 in another county showdown for the Wildcats, and the same formula propelled them to another sweet victory, 54-45. After falling behind early, they dominated the middle weights.

North (7-2) is riding the longest winning streak (seven) since Holt’s first year as head coach in 2012-13, when the ‘Cats ran the table at 11-0. They beat South and Ellis in the same season for the first time since 2014-15.

“People like Collins, Davis, Hill, Richards and Jenkins that play football, they took two on the chin from (Ellis and South last fall),” Holt said. “To be able to beat them in wrestling makes them feel pretty good. It gives them a little extra oomph. It lets them know they’re kind of the lead dog right now.”

Pins by Lawson Hire and Morgan staked Ellis to a 12-0 lead. Then came a 42-3 North explosion from 98 to 145. Hill (pin at 98), Richards (pin at 106), Yokley (pin at 113), Jenkins (pin at 120), Bailey (pin at 132), Collins (forfeit at 138) and Davis (pin at 145) lifted North to a comfortable 42-15 lead. Ellis’ only positive during the stretch was Olmedo’s decision at 126.

Ellis closed the gap by claiming five of the final seven weight classes. Mabe (forfeit at 152), Webb (pin at 160), Frye (pin at 170), Douglas (forfeit at 195) and Dixon (pin at 250) were winners for Ellis. Mason Shermer (182) and Martinez (220) received late forfeits for North.

Holt will not have trouble convincing his boys that things can change the next time. Last year North beat Ellis 51-42 in the first meeting; Ellis rolled 54-27 in the rematch.

“I thought we wrestled pretty good,” Holt said. “But I told them: ‘Hey, we’ve got to wrestle both (South and Ellis) again. We’ve got to make sure we wrestle better each match.’”

Jenkins (9-0) and Richards (7-0) remain undefeated for North. Hill (8-1), Yokley (8-1), Bailey (8-1) and Collins (8-1) have just one loss each. Davis and Logan are both 7-2.

Ellis features a Rolls Royce at 160. Webb has yet to lose in his middle-school career. Last year he went 10-0 with eight pins. This year he’s 6-0 with a pin in every match. Perry (5-1), Parker (5-1), Olmedo (5-1) and Dixon (4-1) have lost once.

“Webb is very well rounded,” Ellis coach Justin Perry said. “He has a couple good takedowns. He is fast from bottom with his stand up. From top, he has many pinning combinations.”


South’s match at West Rowan on Dec. 13 was a dismal outing for the Tigers, who lost 71-21 for their worst defeat in three years.

Nail, Garcia and Lyerly had pins and Jarvis won by decision. But South dropped 13 of 17 weight classes.

“They were much better than us,” Hilton said. “I’ve got 10 sixth graders and nine of them are first-year wrestlers. I’ve got 12 seventh and eighth graders who are first-year wrestlers. So I’d say 75 percent of my team had never wrestled before this year.”


The Tigers responded in dominating fashion, winning 75-22 at Lexington on Dec. 15.

Christian Gomez, Chance Jones, Brian Reyes, CJ Dickerson, Jarvis and Lyerly produced pins as South (6-2) halted a two-match skid. Kevin Rosales-Benitez won a decision. Nail, Khamauri Wilson, Ramiro Gutierrez, Solomon Lyons, Guzman and Garcia got forfeits.

South boasts a magnificent talent at 182. Lyerly is 8-0 with seven pins. He’s 17-1 in his two-year career.

“He’s a big, athletic kid,” Hilton said. “He’s very intimidating. When we were weighing in, the coach from West Rowan said: ‘I want you on my team.’ I’ve heard about kids from other teams being scared to wrestle him. He’s just real intimidating. When you look at him, he’s got an advantage when he steps on the mat. You can tell this kid’s a beast.”

Garcia was a 3-4 afterthought last year. As an eighth grader, he has transformed into a 7-1 terror, the only loss coming against Thomasville.

“He’s the one I was most impressed with (against N. Davie and W. Rowan),” Hilton said. “The kid he beat from North beat him last year. He was losing and came back in the second period to pin him. Daniel is really starting to get it. He is putting three and four moves together. Every day he’s focussed on improving and getting better.”