Three individual titles were not enough for Riverside to claim the team championship at last weekend’s Jim King/Orange Wrestling Invitational, which featured two of the Triangle’s top-five rated teams.
Riverside, ranked No. 10 in the Triangle by the News & Observer, finished in fifth place with three gold medalists: Jaquon Sowell at 170, Araad Sarrami at 195 and Gary Whitaker at heavyweight.
The highly recruited Sowell has moved up a division after winning the 4A state 160 title last year.
“I’m wrestling bigger guys and feel like I have to get better,” Sowell said. “But if I keep working hard I can get another state title.”
One other champion from the Triangle was Apex senior Chance Davis at 132 pounds.
“I was nice to finally win this tournament,” said Davis, who was third in 2013 and fourth in 2012.
Noah Jacobs went 5-1 and won the consolation finals at 113 pounds to earn a third place for Riverside. Pirate teammate Armani Walker (4-2) reached the 160 consolation semifinals to get fifth place, and Riverside’s Clay Bourguitnon (3-3) was sixth at 182.
Noirthern Durham placed 12th in the 23-team field. The Knghts’ scoring was led by 182-pound champion Atavian Oliver (4-1), who recorded a 17-8 major decision over Northwood’s Michael Queen in the championship round.
The Knights’ Demazio Samuel won the consolation finals at 220 pounds and finished 4-1, while Ryan Dickerson (4-2) reached the consolation final and got fourth place at 138.
The hosts from No. 4-ranked Orange High School engaged in their usual back-and-forth battle in the JKO but, for the first time in more than 10 years, Cary wasn’t the main opposition. Northwest Guilford outscored Orange 217.0 to 195.5 for this year’s JKO team championship.
The injury-riddled Imps, ranked No. 2 by the N&O, slipped all the way down to sixth place Saturday.
The Vikings took the team trophy back to Greensboro, marking the first time since 2003 Cary or Orange didn’t win the team title and the first time since 2006 that Cary or Orange didn’t both finish among the top three teams.
Orange held a slim lead on Northwest Guilford entering the medal rounds, but the Vikings pulled away with five finalists and four gold medalists to Orange’s three finalists and three runner-up finishes.
“Cary was missing some kids, but it was still a tough tournament good teams competing,” Orange coach Bobby Shriner said. “Chatham Central and Southern Alamance wrestled very well.”