West Johnston’s Sam Campbell led area wrestlers in the NCHSA state individual wrestling championships Saturday with a second place finish.
Campbell took the silver medal at 220 pounds in the 4A classification after bowing out to Thomas Rodriguez of powerful Winston-Salem Parkland via pinfall in the state championship match Saturday night in the Greensboro Coliseum. Parkland won the 4A team tournament championship a week after notching yet another dual team title.
Campbell finishes his season with a 40-3 mark, becoming the second Wildcat to advance to a state championship match.
Campbell’s title match was the last match that David Prendergast, who led the Wildcats to multiple conference championships and playoff appearances, will coach. Prendergast is retiring as head coach.
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“I loved this season. I loved the kids that were on the team at the end. I tried my best to enjoy this and I think I did,” said Prendergast, who retires with exactly 300 dual-team wins.
Two other Johnston County wrestlers finished third in the state in their respective brackets: Darius Dunn of Corinth Holders (113) and Jhavonte Moon (145) of Cleveland.
Dunn beat Bryan Mol of Swansboro 10-3 in the third place match at 113 pounds in the 3A ranks. Dunn finishes his season with a 47-2 mark.
Moon had little trouble in his rematch from a week again with Rocky Mount’s Rashaun Elliott in the 3A 145-pound, third place match. Moon (45-3) earned a pin just 29 seconds into the bout.
Southeast Raleigh’s Joshua Mack finished fourth in 4A at 285 pounds. Mack (31-5) took a 5-3 upset loss to Reynolds’ Wayne Walker in the opening round, but then reeled off four straight wins in the consolation bracket to advance to the third place match.
The last two of those wins came by a point in overtime. Mack fell to Riverside’s Gary Whitaker 18-6 in the third place match.
West Johnston’s Tony Jimenez advanced to the championship semifinals at 106 with a pin of Concord Robinson’s Isaiah Hendricks in the opening round and an 11-5 win over Josh Hedrick of Northwest Guilford.
Southeast Guilford’s C.J. Tolbert topped Jimenez 7-4 in the championship semifinals.
Jimenez finished the season with a 44-4 mark.
West’s Raheem Simmons (33-8) and Brian Crutchfield (37-15) took back-to-back losses in the 4A tournament. George Nathaniel of West finished 43-8, going 1-2 in the tournament.
Garner’s Aschalew Teka also won a match at the state finals, finishing his season 31-13.
In the 3A ranks, Smithfield-Selma senior Tyler Talley lost his opening match, but pinned Jason Terrell of Eastern Alamance in the consolation first round before bowing out to Campbell Alspaugh of West Brunswick. Talley finished with a 23-14 record.
Corinth Holders wrestlers Cameron Brewer (40-10) and Jason Gonzales (21-19) both went 1-2 at the state meet, as did Cleveland’s Matthews Cruz Cruz (43-12).
D. Clay Best contributed.