Wrestlers bounce back, win region
Published 9:31 am Thursday, February 15, 2018
By Brian Pitts
Davie Enterprise Record
The excruciating loss to West Forsyth in the dual team state quarterfinals left a bad taste in the Davie wrestling team’s mouth, but the War Eagles dusted themselves off and regrouped in time for the Midwest Regional tournament at Glenn on Feb. 9-10.
They captured first place out of 19 teams and qualified eight of 12 guys for the state tournament. It was renewed proof that Davie is capable of winning the individual state championship this weekend.
Davie scored 166 points to Ragsdale’s 162.5, Northwest Guilford’s 151.5 and West Forsyth’s 138. It came on the heels of the state dual team playoffs, when West beat Ragsdale in the second round, Davie in the quarterfinals and NW Guilford in the semifinals before the Titans settled for state runner-up.
The War Eagles responded with their first regional title in nine years. In 2009, they claimed the regional before finishing second in the state to Cary. Starting in 2010, Davie finished second, second, second, fourth, fourth, fourth, sixth and third in the regional. It’s the 17th regional title for 42nd-year coach Buddy Lowery.
“From top to bottom, we wrestled our butts off,” Lowery said.
Junior Anthony Olmedo won the regional at 220. No shock there. He is 50-2 with 41 straight wins. It’s the 21st 50-win season in Davie annals. He’s 136-27 in his career. It’s his first regional title after finishing second last year. Olmedo scorched opponents with first-period pin, first-period pin, 7-3 decision and 8-3 decision.
“Anthony just did his thing,” Lowery said. “He paces up and down the floor and he’s ready when he walks out there. He has a bad day (occasionally), but his bad days are as good as most people’s good days.”
Olmedo will try to become a state champion after placing fourth as a sophomore at 285.
“He does a good job of dictating what’s going on in the match,” assistant coach Timmy Allen said. “He’s in charge of the mat the whole time he’s out there. He’s pretty calm, cool and collected once he’s out there. He slows the match down and does what he’s supposed to do every time he’s out there.”
In case you’re wondering who managed to beat Olmedo this year, it was one guy from Collins Hill (Ga.) and one from North Iredell.
“I’m pretty sure (the wrestler from Collins Hill) is ranked in the nation,” Allen said. “He looked like an NFL linebacker. He’s only got one or two losses on the year and one of his losses was to the No. 3 guy in the country from Missouri. So Anthony didn’t lose to any scrubs. When he lost to the guy from North Iredell, he had been cutting to make weight. It was his first time making 220 and he was weak. He just didn’t wrestle like himself and he got caught in a five-point move and had to battle back. He ended up throwing the kid but came up a point short. If they wrestled right now, I’m pretty sure Anthony would either major or pin that kid.”
Davie only produced one champion, but it walked off with the regional trophy through terrific balance.
Senior Hunter Strickland went 2-1 to claim runner-up at 170. After receiving a first-round bye, he reached the finals with a major decision and 6-4 decision. Despite losing in the finals, he left with a 24-4 record and his second state berth.
Three War Eagles took third. Senior Josh Shore went 3-1 at 113. He’s 41-9 for the season and 116-46 in his career. Senior Nick Gillis went 4-1 at 120, giving him a record of 47-6. Senior Joseph Myers went 5-1 at 145, including a team high in pins (four). He’s 31-12 on the season.
“The surprise of the whole deal was Myers,” Lowery said. “(Four pins is) a lot of points.”
Three more War Eagles punched state tickets with four-place finishes. Junior Bill Trader went 4-2 at 126, pushing his record to 26-9. Junior Matthew King went 3-2 at 182, improving his record to 38-11. Senior Bryson Hunter went 2-2 at 195, running his record to 39-10.
Shore, Gillis, Myers, Trader, King and Hunter are first-time state qualifiers. The eight are the most state qualifiers for Davie since the last regional title in 2009, when it sent 12 to the last weekend of the season.
But a narrow win over Ragsdale wouldn’t have been possible without 11 wins from guys who did not qualify for the state. Juniors Josh Chaffin (132), Peyton Sherrill (138) and Andy Flores (285) all went 3-2 – all falling one win short of qualification. Junior Cody Taylor (106) went 2-2 as he suited up despite having been stricken by the flu.
Chaffin finished 40-14, Sherrill 29-21, Flores 30-14 and Taylor 33-9.
“If Cody was at full strength, you don’t know what he would have done,” Lowery said.
Davie, which had voids at 152 and 160, will fly into the state meet with one serious state championship contender and a host of tough outs. The Greensboro Coliseum will host the meet on Feb. 15-17.