Lowery nearing 900 wrestling victories

Published 9:19 am Friday, November 16, 2018

If you’re under the age of 55 and have followed Davie wrestling, you basically know nothing but giddiness and success for the mat men of Buddy Lowery.

The War Eagles are drenched in tradition. They have posted 27-plus wins for five straight years. They have won 17 regional titles and three state championships (1994, 1995, 2006). Winning the Central Piedmont Conference feels like a birthright, as Davie’s claimed 26 regular-season titles in 33 years, compiling a 172-7-1 all-time mark in the CPC. Lowery hasn’t experienced a losing season since 1979. Davie has suffered more than six losses just twice in 39 years. Lowery has coached 11 individual state champions, 13 state runner-ups, 15 bronze medalists and 43 guys to 100 career wins.

After finishing second in the conference in 2016-17, Davie returned to top dog status in 2018, went 36-4, reached the state quarterfinals in the dual team playoffs, captured the regional crown for the first time since 2009 and finished ninth in the individual state tournament.

Forever a force to be reckoned with, Davie is once again expected to be among the 4-A state’s best in 2018-19.

Last year’s team produced typical Davie results even though half the dynamic duo – the Olmedo twins – was sidelined for the entire year. Jesus Olmedo went 32-12 and won the CPC at 220 as a freshman, and he went 44-5, repeated as the 220 champ and finished fourth in the state as a sophomore. But with his right shoulder ailing, he had to sit on a 76-17 career record as a junior.

Jesus is back. Anthony had surgery on his right shoulder in the offseason, and he’s good to go for his senior year.

A. Olmedo is on pace for one of the winningest careers ever. As a freshman, he went 40-19 at 285. As a sophomore, he went 46-6 at 285, finished second in the regional and fourth in the state. As a junior he dropped to 220, going 53-4, winning the regional and placing fifth in the state. At 139-29, he’s tied for 11th in career wins. He’s among just 12 guys to reach 100 wins before their senior year.

Davie is plenty talented aside from the Olmedos. Senior Matthew King, who went into Friday’s football game against East Forsyth as the CPC’s top tackler, went 42-13 as a junior at 182, placing fourth in the regional and fifth in the state.

Josh Chaffin went 40-14 as a junior and won the CPC at 132. Cody Taylor went 33-9 as a junior at 106. Andy Flores went 30-14 as a junior at 285. Bill Trader went 27-11 aas a junior at 126, placed fourth in the regional and qualified for the state. Peyton Sherrill went 29-21 as a junior and won the conference at 138.

A host of guys could have breakout years. As freshmen, Adam Szewczyk went 12-3, Tyler Snyder 9-3 and Matthew Downey 9-5. Senior Spencer Hoke could be a starter at 195 after seeing 13 varsity matches the past two years. Sophomore Ivan Poag got two varsity matches as a freshman.

Lowery endorsed four freshmen: JT Richards, Collin Bailey, Jack Jarvis and Sam Collins. All four look ready for the big lights.

“They all wrestle year-round,” Lowery said. “I think JT will wrestle with anybody (at 113). I mean that sucker is pretty good.”

Collins is a candidate to start at 152.

“Several guys who are still playing football are around 150 pounds,” Lowery said last week. “Some are going to get to eat all they want, some are going to have to watch their weight, and some are going to have to miss meals.”

Lowery has two monsters at heavyweight, which is reminiscent of the Ryan Boehm/Ted Randolph saga in 2005.

In 2004 Boehm went 35-6 and won the state at 215. In 2005 Boehm bumped up and he and Randolph played musical chairs at heavyweight. Onlookers grimaced as they challenged time and again for the starting spot.

Boehm went 23-0 as a senior at 285 but ultimately lost the starting job to Randolph, who went 17-3, won the regional and placed sixth in the state. It was unheard-of to have a defending state champion on the bench. Boehm went on to play football at Coastal Carolina, playing on the offensive line. Randolph played tight end at Wake Forest.

“We’ve got a logjam with two good wrestlers,” Lowery said. “They’re smart enough. They know (Cameron Blizzard of Ragsdale) is going to be at 195, and they don’t think they can beat him. Then you’ve got the kid from Lake Norman at 195, and he is a bad dude.”

A. Olmedo was borderline unstoppable at 285 and 220 the past two years, but at 235 he will be outweighed by a good bit by Flores, who is around 260.

“It’s going to be one of those stall, stall, stall and then somebody busts loose,” Lowery said of the upcoming challenge matches. “It’s going to be like Randolph and Boehm.”

Lowery, who enters his 43rd year with an 881-133-2 record, is an unassuming coach who has seen everything twice. He almost never gushes about anything. Judging from his comments, you wonder if Davie can manage a winning record this winter.

“We’re huntin’ and tryin’ to figure out how to move and do some things right,” he said. “We’ll be decent. The ones that have experience, we’re going to have to have pins out of them. I tell them this is not a rec league where you can come when you want to. Don’t come in here with lame excuses. It’s time to go. They don’t understand, if you miss one day of practice you’re three days behind.”

The assistant coaches are Timmy Allen, Perry Long and Isaiah Whitley.