Bizarre match gives Lowery 900th win

Published 9:14 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

Buddy Lowery has seen almost everything during his 43 years as Davie’s wrestling coach, but he’d never seen this.

With the outcome hanging in the balance in the final weight class against West Wilkes, the referee tagged Davie’s Andy Flores and his opponent with nine stalling calls. The big fella from West was whistled for five of them,  resulting in a disqualification that gave Flores a win by decision and Davie a 37-34 victory over a team that has been a 2-A power for many years.

The War Eagles went 5-0 in the Blackhawk Duals on Dec. 22, Lowery reached a milestone with his mind-boggling 900th win and Davie ran its season record to 22-2.

The War Eagles left the other four opponents in their dust, winning 69-12 over Starmount, 75-6 over Ashe County, 69-12 over West Iredell and 60-16 over North Iredell.

But West Wilkes was a monster. It has produced 17 individual state champions since 2010, and it has celebrated at least one state champ the past nine years.

The showdown in Davie’s final match of the day featured wild mood swings. Pins by Cody Taylor at 106, Bill Trader at 126 and Josh Chaffin at 132 put Davie in front 18-6.

In the second weight class at 113, JT Richards carried an eye-popping 30-2 freshman record to the center of the mat but faced a daunting task against William Walker, who finished third in the state as a sophomore and first as a junior. The established star decisioned the rising star.

“They wrestle each other every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Combat,” Lowery said.

Five of West’s six wins would come against freshmen, the only Davie ninth grader to prevail being Jack Jarvis at 145. His pin gave Davie its largest lead at 24-10.

The Blackhawks stacked pins at 152, 160 and 170 to vault ahead 28-24 with four weight classes left.

The big boys rescued Davie, although West’s ability to avoid pins heightened the suspense. Matthew King has 21 pins on the year, but he settled for a decision at 182 to cut the deficit to 28-27.

“I thought they stalled big time against King,” Lowery said.

It was 34-27 West after Davie forfeited at 195. Jesus Olmedo, who has 22 pins and appears almost invincible at 220, was held to a 20-6 major decision as Davie faced a 34-31 deficit with one match to go.

“They laid around and didn’t wrestle at 220,” Lowery said. “I thought they just stalled. Then Jesus tried to tech fall him (and fell one point short).”

A Flores decision would tie things at 34, but Lowery figured that wouldn’t be enough because of the tiebreaker. Thus, he was aiming for at least a four-point major.

It was just about the craziest ending you’ll ever see.

“The referee called them for stalling in the first period,” Lowery said. “He hit them for stalling again in the second, and that gave Andy one point. He hit both of them in the second period. (The West wrestler) had four stalling calls and we had three going into the third. I said: ‘There ain’t no way he’s going to make it through the third without stalling.’ About a minute into it, bam. He stuck him. DQ.”

Flores was leading by three points when the Blackhawk was DQ’d, “but I don’t think three points were going to help us because I don’t think we would have won on criteria,” he said.

The referee caught the West fans’ ire as he was escorted out of the gym. It may have been an ugly win, but it sure beat the alternative.

“It was exciting,” Lowery said. “I’ll take it. I wasn’t saying anything (to the ref). I was more concerned with the way Andy was wrestling than the way that guy was wrestling.”


For the day, Taylor, King, Olmedo, Flores, Trader, Chaffin and Jarvis went 5-0. Richards, Lane Hill and Collin Bailey went 4-1. Isaac Webb went 3-2.

It was an especially impressive showing for Hill, a freshman who had not seen varsity competition until this. He filled in for sophomore Adam Szewczyk, who was out with an injury. Hill reeled off three straight pins before losing to W. Wilkes.

“Lane wrestled his butt off,” he said. “He’s going to be a good one. He did an excellent job.”

Notes: Freshman Sam Collins had a pin in his one match at 152. … Lowery’s career record climbed to 903-135. … Olmedo is the first War Eagle to reach 32-0 since his brother Isaiah started 33-0 as a 2015-16 senior. He wound up setting the season record for wins (59) as he finished third in the state at 182. … Richards is 30-3, Taylor 29-2, King 28-5, Trader 24-4, Bailey 24-6, Chaffin 23-6, Webb 22-9, Jarvis 22-11 and Flores 19-3.