Spending most of this year wrestling heavyweights came in handy last week for undefeated Northern Durham senior Demazio Samuel.
Samuel (40-0) won the 4A 220-pound title Saturday at the N.C. High School Athletics Association individual wrestling championships in the Greensboro Coliseum. He fnished on top with a 6-4 decision against Southeast Guilford’s Evan Surgeon in Saturday’s championship finals.
“I had to be mentally tough,” Samuel said.
On bottom position, Samuel wore down Surgeon before getting the winning reversal.
“Everybody looks at his body and his physique because he really is a pretty good specimen, but what they don’t know is what he’s got right here,” Northern coach Matt Brown said, pointing to his heart.
Finalists in the tournament included Kyle Coward of 1A Voyager Academy at 132 pounds, who finished his year with a record of 35-10. His Viking teammate Ronald Whitt earned third place in the 1A’s 126-pound division.
Coward advanced to the 132 championship bout with two pins – taking down Alleghany’s Jackson Williams in 4 minutes, 34 seconds, and getting Pamlico’s Marlon MacIntyre in 3 minutes, 58 seconds. He then lost a 12-4 major decision to South Stanly’s Cody Pugh in Saturday’s finals.
Whitt started off well with a 9-4 decision against Joseph Helton of Murphy, but then fell to Alleghany’s Jake Blevins in the semifinals.
Whitt wrestled his way back through the consolation rounds to reach the third-place match, where he won a hard-fought 7-6 decision over Rosman’s Tristan Prater (43-5) for the bronze. Whitt ended up with a final record of 40-9.
Riverside’s Jaden Davis got knocked into the 4A’s 195-pound consolation rounds early, but battled his way back with a pin in just 45 seconds of Millbook’s Matt Flores and won a 5-2 decision against Michael Johnson of Southeast Guilford. Davis ended up at 47-12 for the year and in fourth place in the state meet after a loss to Fayetteville Britt’s Lamontico Melvin.
Unlike many years, Triangle teams didn’t factor into the team races for the NCHSAA championships, but they did put forth seven state champions, four which like Samuel finished undefeated.
Voyager Academy ended up with 33 points for the best team finish of any Durham school: 11th place among the 36 schools in the 1A competition. Northern earn 26 points for 20th place out of 76 teams in the 4A tournament. Riverside took 32nd in the 4A with 15 points.
Area champions: Wake Forest 4A Heritage’s 132-pound Anthony Brito, (51-2) who became his school’s first state champion in any sport with a 3-1 decision over Lake Norman’s Zak Rainess; Holly Springs’ Cam Devers (53-0) in the 4A 138-pound class; Cary’s Alex Zuniga (49-0) with his second straight undefeated season and a title in the 4A 170-pound class; Cary’s Rod Perry (46-2) at 285 pounds; and Michael Queen of Northwood (56-3) who won the 3A’s 182-pound championship with a 3-0 decision over John Harris of Rockingham County (50-5).
Team titles: Rosewood took the 1A title, the only dual-team champ to make it a sweep. Kill Devil Hills’ First Flight won the 2A title, Candler’s Enka Hight the 3A and Southeast Guilford the 4A. The highest-placing area teams were Cary taking fifth and Holly Springs ninth in 4A.