Davie wrestling finds early adversity

Published 10:21 am Friday, November 23, 2018

Davie’s wrestling team opened the season in familiar fashion, whipping Wilkes Central 64-18. Davie left the St. Stephens gym frowning, having suffered a 40-27 loss to the host school.

The first matches of the 2018-19 season were held in Hickory on Nov. 15.

In the 46-point victory, the War Eagles dropped six pins on the 2-A Eagles. Cody Taylor (106 weight class), Josh Chaffin (132), Jack Jarvis (145), Isaac Webb (152), Matthew King (195) and Jesus Olmedo (220) accounted for those 36 points.

It marked a return to the spotlight for J. Olmedo, who missed his entire junior season with a shoulder injury. Before this, he was last seen going 44-5 and placing fourth in the state at 220 as a sophomore.

It was memorable Davie debuts for freshmen Jarvis and Webb. Freshman Collin Bailey also performed beautifully in his high-school debut, taking a major decision at 138.

Wilkes Central gave forfeits to freshman JT Richards, sophomore Adam Szewczyk and seniors Bill Trader and Andy Flores.


The evening was alternately heartening (Davie has fantastic freshmen and strong seniors) and concerning (Davie has holes). The loss to St. Stephens indicated that it has a long way to go to reach the levels of the 27-6, 29-4, 28-3, 33-2 and 36-4 teams from the past five years.

Davie’s lineup featured eight seniors, but one of them is a first-year wrestler (Micah Gillespie). The other six spots were five freshmen and a sophomore. Davie was hampered in other ways: King wrestled at 195; he’ll wind up at 182. DeVonte Lyerly is a freshman who wrestled at 182; he’ll move down to 170 as soon as possible. Even at 170, Lyerly will probably face more than his share of juniors/seniors. When King moves down, Davie may be forced to forfeit every time at 195. And then there was the absence of Anthony Olmedo and his 139 career wins. He didn’t suit up at St. Stephens after being largely unstoppable at 220 as a junior (53-4 record, fifth in the state).

“This is the youngest we’ve been in a long time,” assistant coach Timmy Allen said. “But the future is definitely bright with this group.”

“We couldn’t get King down to where he belongs at 182,” coach Buddy Lowery said. “I don’t have a 195-pounder. I thought we wrestled pretty good considering what we had.”

A major decision by Chaffin (132) and a pin by Bailey (138) staked Davie to a 10-0 lead over the 3-A Indians. Richards, who delivered a pin late in the match, matched Bailey with a 2-0 start. A year ago they were North Davie Wildcats.

“The freshmen wrestled their butts off,” Allen said. “They’re tough. They don’t get fazed like typical freshmen. The moment isn’t too big. They know how to battle. I mean they’re fearless.”

Collin was destined to be a wrestler. His father Kyle wrestled for Ron Kirk’s North Davie juggernaut in the 1990s. His uncle Adam pounded out a 123-27 career record, finishing second in the state at 125 in 1999.

“It’s in his bloodlines,” Allen said. “Collin is a grinder. I love his style of wrestling. He attacks, attacks and attacks. I knew he was good and he’s going to be real good if he keeps working at it.”

The Chaffin/Bailey spark, though, was obscured by St. Stephens’ 31-0 rampage from 145 through 195. Jarvis showed heart before getting pinned at 145. Webb came close at 152, losing 9-7.

“Jack went against (Trenton Hunt),” Allen said. “I think (Hunt) finished third in the state last year. Jack wrestled him as hard as he could. I’m not sure he was pinned. He was battling until the third period.

“Isaac had a chance to pin. He battled and battled and battled. He had the joker on his back and I thought he was stuck. And Isaac is still in football shape.”

Not only was King out of his comfort zone at 195, he was up against vastly gifted Alex Martinez, who was third in the state last year. The result was a 13-5 major decision for the Indians. King, a state qualifier as a junior, will be a stalwart at 182, but – barely removed from football, where he led the War Eagles with 123 tackles – he wasn’t close to top form.

“Matthew battled but he’s only been practicing for two days,” Allen said. “(Martinez) is the real deal. He’s probably the favorite to win the state at 195 in 3-A.”

Davie closed the gap with an 18-6 run. J. Olmedo pinned at 220, Taylor won 10-3 at 106, Richards pinned at 113 and Szewczyk prevailed 4-3 at 120.

But the 31-10 deficit proved too much. Flores suffered the toughest loss at heavyweight.

“Honestly, we should have won,” Allen said. “Andy was winning. He could have cut that kid, took him down, cut the kid, took him down. We kept our arms in on top and he rolled us to our back.”

It was the earliest loss for the War Eagles in 12 years. In the 2006-07 opener, they were blitzed 57-13 at Southwest Randolph. They opened the next 11 seasons with no fewer than six consecutive wins, including a 20-0 surge out of the gate in 2017-18.

The Indians stopped a four-match losing streak to Davie. The War Eagles’ streak included scores of 61-12, 34-27, 50-22 and 40-31, the latter coming last year when Davie erased a 31-15 deficit. This was their first loss to St. Stephens since 54-19 in 2013-14.