Wrestlers have three champs; 2nd of 28 at Orange

Published 1:36 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Davie’s wrestling team was missing Hunter Testa (sick) and his 122 career victories for the Jim King Orange Invitational on Dec. 1-2, but not many programs have a surplus of spare parts like the War Eagles. Coach Josh Stanley simply plugged in Maddox Creason and he performed admirably on his way to fifth place in Testa’s 175 weight class.

Davie did fall three points short of Eastern Guilford in the team scoring as 28 teams competed, but there was plenty for Davie to cheer about as it placed nine of 13 guys in the top five.

Creason is a sophomore who was 2-2 before heading to Orange High. He ripped of three victories before finishing 4-2 on the day.

“Maddox is a young guy who is growing into his body,” Stanley said. “He’s figuring out how to hand fight and how to be in these matches. Every time he’s on the mat, he gets better. Literally every time he’s out there, you see improvement. I’m trying to bring him along to create more partners in the room and create more competition. He’s got a bright future with us.”

Aidan Szewczyk came in 5-0, but he had not wrestled since Nov. 18, missing three duals and a tournament at North Davidson. He had been sick and trying to cut weight to 113. When he returned to the mat at Orange, we saw what makes him a prized freshman: four pins in four tries to take first place. For the season, he’s 9-0 with seven pins and two forfeits.

“We have the flu going around; that’s why Testa did not wrestle,” Stanley said. “Aiden was sick and the weight is not easy for him.  When it gets to 115 (the weight classes go up two pounds after Christmas), his life is going to be a lot easier.”

Juniors Cayden Glass and Ryder Strickland are off to sensational starts. Glass captured the 120 division with a technical fall, two pins and a decision over Morehead’s Eli Horton in the finals, the second time he’s defeated Horton this season. The 4-0 day raised Glass’ record to 13-0.

“Eli adjusted and did some things differently, and Eli was closer to us this match,” Stanley said. “Those two don’t compete for a state title against each other, so it’s an amazing opportunity for them to use each other to get better and compete.”

It’s been utter domination for Davie’s heavyweight. Strickland went pin-pin-pin before surviving an overtime struggle in the finals. He’s 15-0 with 12 pins.

“I think Ryder’s a hard guy to beat in those situations,” Stanley said of the OT win. “He has a low center of gravity, so it’s hard to get him out of position. When we get him in those deep-water matches, I feel like he’s going to thrive. Anytime we get to push his gas tank, it’s a good day.”

Sophomores Tiaj Thao (3-1 at 126) and Elliott Gould (3-1 at 157) both finished second. Thao finally lost after starting 12-0 with 11 pins.

Sophomore Andy Davis (138) and junior Brett Foster (144) were knocked off for the first time this season, but both recovered in time to secure third place. Their records are 15-1 and 16-1, respectively. Senior Brysen Godbey (15-2 record) was third at 215.

Also competing for Davie were senior Jerred Alexander (3-3 at 165), sophomore Braxton Hunter (2-2 at 132), sophomore Jamarius Pelote (2-2 at 150) and junior Christian Boswell (2-3 at 190).

As a team, coach Maurice Atwood’s Eastern Guilford barely topped Davie 264-261, with Hough finishing third at 228.5. Atwood relished the tight battle with Davie.

“Davie was missing a couple, including (106 and) their best guy (Testa), but I was missing someone and wrestling out of place from 113-190,” said Atwood, who lives in Davie County. “Davie and my team gave our teams a glimpse of what these pop quiz tournament team races are supposed to do – prepare us for the final exams in February. I’m proud of both teams, especially Brett Foster for getting back on the mat, getting his conditioning right and winning his first ever overtime match. I wish Davie, my hometown high school, the best the rest of the season.”

Davie 61, Reynolds 18

Predictably, the War Eagles mashed Reynolds in the Central Piedmont Conference opener in Winston-Salem on Nov. 30.

Luke Tehandon, Thao, Gould, Alexander, Testa, Boswell, Godbey and Strickland had pins. Davis won by disqualification. Pelote won a major decision. And Foster won a decision as Davie captured 11 of 14 weight classes and ran its dual-team record to 8-0.

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It was, however, baptism by fire for the Davie girls, who lost 60-12 to the Demons. Vivian Vitti (114) and Arwyn Brungardt (132) had pins, with Brungardt sticking her opponent in 33 seconds, but Davie lost the other 10 weight classes (six pins, four forfeits).

“Reynolds has a massive girls program,” Stanley said. “They had the spotlight on. It was loud and their girls had an intense warmup. You could see it in our girls’ eyes: ‘Wow, this is where we’re at now.’ But they stepped up and wrestled hard. It was a good learning experience.”