Wrestling feasts on league rivals
Published 10:09 am Thursday, February 1, 2018
Davie’s wrestling team did what it almost always does in the Central Piedmont Conference – it feasted on league rivals. After coach Buddy Lowery’s War Eagles won the CPC matches by 63, 45, 19, 66 and 46 points, there was nothing left but a loud belch.
The regular-season championship was especially satisfying this time because Davie finished second in 2016 and 2017. Now the War Eagles are back on top. They captured the regular-season prize for the 26th time in 33 years of CPC membership. Their all-time CPC record is 172-7-1.
Visiting Reagan was an inferior foe on Senior Night Jan. 25. Davie’s first action in 15 days saw a 72-6 wipeout. Before the match, Davie honored seven seniors: Josh Shore, Nick Gillis, Joseph Myers, Hunter Strickland, Logan Williams, Bryson Hunter and Austin Smith.
Shore, Bill Trader, Josh Chaffin, Hayes Sales, Matthew King and Anthony Olmedo recorded pins. Peyton Sherrill and Williams won decisions. Cody Taylor, Gillis, Strickland, Hunter and Smith received forfeits as Davie took 13 of 14 weight classes, the exception being a forfeit at 145 because Myers was sidelined by an injury. With heavyweight Andy Flores out with an appendicitis, Olmedo bumped up and promptly pinned.
The final regular-season match at East Forsyth on Jan. 26 was virtually a carbon copy of the Reynolds/West Forsyth/Reagan matches. Davie (34-3, 5-0 CPC) dominated 61-15 to reach the most wins in eight years.
Gillis, Trader, Chaffin, Sherrill, Myers, Williams and Olmedo had pins. King won by major decision. Hunter won a decision. Taylor and Strickland got forfeits.
For good measure, Davie ruled the CPC Tournament on Jan. 27 at Davie. All 13 War Eagles – they forfeited at heavyweight – placed among the top three, led by first-place finishers Shore (2-0), Gillis (2-0), Chaffin (3-0), Sherrill (2-0), Strickland (1-0) and Olmedo (2-0).
Taylor, Trader, Myers, King and Hunter placed second. Sales and Williams were third.
Davie, which hosted the first round of the state dual team playoffs on Jan. 30, is ranked No. 4 by ncmat.com. It is ranked No. 8 by rankwrestlers.com.
Coaches lavished praise on the seniors. “It’s truly an amazing group,” assistant coach Timmy Allen said.
Gillis has a 41-5 record at 120. “He’s a beast,” assistant coach Mark McKnight said. “He doesn’t look it, but he’s very, very strong. A lot of moves he runs, they may not look like they do much. But with the power he runs behind them, it means a lot. If he’s standing, he hits a blast double. It’s very fast. A lot of wrestlers have to hit it from a tie up, but he can hit it from a distance. He’s fast enough to hit it and they can’t stop it.”
Shore is 36-8 at 113. “He really loves wrestling,” McKnight said. “He enjoys doing it; it’s not like a job to him. He’s really good on his feet. He listens when you tell him to do stuff.”
Hunter is 35-8 at 182/195. “Bryson has been on the mat a ton,” Allen said. “He has probably wrestled more than anyone on the team. The crazy thing is as a senior he is just scratching the surface of his potential, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he places top six at states if he does what he knows he can do.”
Myers is 26-8 at 145/152. “He can hit a cradle from anywhere,” McKnight said. “He’s got a good shot from standing. He does a lot of stuff well. He’s a lot like Gillis because he’s really strong. He gets himself in trouble a little bit by trying to muscle instead of running the moves with muscle. But he’s a great kid and he does what we ask him to do. Cross face cradle, he is the best at that.”
Strickland is 20-3 at 160/170. “Hunter has paid his dues,” Allen said. “He knows every move in the book. I honestly think that if he puts it all together he can be the next state champion.”
Even though Williams (19-6) did not see his first varsity match until his senior year, he hung in there. Even though he has only been a starter about half the time in 2017-18, he never complains.
“Logan has gotten in the lineup (at 160) because we’ve shifted people down,” McKnight said. “If you’re a backup as a senior, a lot of times you end up losing that kid. They’ll quit or they’re not trying anymore to get better because they don’t see any kind of payoff. But he’s kept working and he’s found a spot. Colby Shore getting hurt at 132 gave him an opportunity because four or five wrestlers shifted down. And he’s done well for us.”
Smith is cut from the same mold. He stuck with it through limited mat time. His 5-3 senior record is not a reflection of his value to the team. The depth of his character is best illustrated by this: After going 16-8 as a junior, he’s been willing to wait in the shadows as a senior.
“Austin is one of those guys that anyone would love to coach,” Allen said. “Great attitude and works as hard as anyone. He never complains; he just goes to work. He has had the misfortune of having some really great wrestlers in front of him – Isaiah Olmedo, Anthony Olmedo, Jesus Olmedo and Jesse Carter just to name a few. He is always reliable. I’m really going to miss this guy; he just makes our team better. You don’t see that much more these days, a true team player. … And he has amazing hair.”
Notes: A. Olmedo is No. 1 with a 44-2 record, including a 35-match winning streak. … Chaffin is 35-12, King 33-9, Taylor 30-6, Flores 27-11, Sales 27-19, Sherrill 26-17, Trader 22-6 and C. Shore 18-13.