Two Johnston County wrestlers did everything they could do to win an NCHSAA state individual wrestling championship Saturday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. Somehow it still wasn’t enough.
Clayton’s Michael Lines finished as the state runner-up at 182 pounds in the 4A ranks and Princeton’s Michael Daughtry did the same in the 1A ranks at 145 pounds.
Lines fell to Southern Guilford’s Garrett Church 5-3 in the championship bout, a matchup of 50-plus win wrestlers.
“I worked hard, but I just came up short. It just wasn’t my day,” Lines said. “I was pretty aggressive till the end, but he just caught me. He was a defensive wrestler, and that’s what they do. I played my game and he played his, and he just came out on top.
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“That was always the goal, to win a state championship. I came up short, but there’s nothing you can do.”
Lines, who had wins by pin, major decision and a 5-2 score in the semifinals, finishes the season at 53-3.
Daughtry spent the 2016 individual wrestling regionals and state championships settling old debts. After a fourth place finish in the state 1A championships at 145 pounds, the Princeton senior followed that up with a state runner-up finish on Saturday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“He had a great run in the tournament with a win over the wrestler that beat him twice last year in the tournament to knock him out,” said Princeton coach Terry Bramwell. “To get to states he beat a wrestler in the Regional finals that he had compiled a 1-4 record against this year. After finishing in fourth place last year in states, Michael set himself a personal goal to get back to Greensboro in the finals and he worked really hard to get there.”
Daughtry tried his best to battle back against Cherokee’s Anthony Toineeta in the championship bout. After falling behind 3-1, he cut the gap to 3-2, then to 5-3 (after trailing 5-2) but couldn’t get the much-needed takedown to tie against the Cherokee standout.
The Princeton standout got a pin in his opening bout, then downed Rosman’s Tanner Whitman 7-6 in the state semifinals.
Daughtry was 44-7 on the 2015-16 season and leaves Princeton High with the school record in wins. He was 118-41 over the past four years.
At 152 pounds, Trevor Loken of Clayton won his first round bout, 11-1 over Upright Odoemena, before taking a 13-1 loss in the championship quarterfinals. He finished tied for 11th in the state. Nick Brown of Clayton also tied for 11th, getting his win via forfeit in the consolation first round.
Their Comet teammate, Deondre James, tied for 13th at 132 pounds.
Jonathan Rose of West Johnston won a consolation first round match via pinfall to tie for 11th in the 4A ranks at 285 pounds. Rose was 19-10 on the season.
West’s Austin Daley and Clayton’s Christian Prescott both took two losses in the 113-pound weight class of the 4A ranks, tying for 13th in the state.
Frankie Miller of Corinth Holders advanced to the championship semifinals of the 3A 285-pound class with wins over Eastern Adamance’s Aric Alston (2-1 in the opening round) and Cameron Miller of South Iredell 3-2 in the semifinals. With the spot in the state championship match on the line, the junior gave up a second-period pinball to Nicholas Coe of Asheville, the eventual state champion and a 25-0 wrestler.
Miller would go onto finish sixth in the state and 28-11 on the season.
Larry Williams of Corinth Holders won his opening round match 4-2 over Enka’s Hunter Kisner before dropping two consolation bouts.
Corinth Holders’ Noah Vasquez won a consolation round match to finish tied for 11th in the state.
Alex Staples of Corinth Holders went 0-2 in the 3A 145-pound weight class, tying for 13th in the state.
Cleveland’s Jakob Cox tied for 13th at 152 pounds.
Neuse Charter senior Bryce Lyons tied for fifth in the 1A ranks at 220. Lyons won his opening match against Paeden Lungrin, before dropping matches to Blake Dean of Rosewood (in the semifinals) and Robert Alvarez of East Montgomery in the consolation semifinals.
Teammate Tristan Wellons was unable to win a match in the 285-pound 1A class. He fell victims to a pair of pins and tied for seventh in the state.
It was the first time the Cougars had qualifiers for the state championships.
In the 2A ranks, North Johnston’s JoJo Richardson and Tyler Scott tied for 13th in the state at 145 and 152, respectively.
D. Clay Best contributed.