A bevy of talented, local wrestlers converged upon West Johnston High on Sunday in the 4A Mideast Regional with their eyes set on earning a spot in the upcoming week’s NCHSAA wrestling championships.
Southwest Wake Athletic Conference rivals Holly Springs and Cary led the way with each sending eight wrestlers to compete for state titles. The Golden Hawks edged the Imps 181 to 178 in the team standings.
Austin Galati proved to be the class of the 170-pound weight division as the Holly Springs senior took care of Knightdale’s Brandon Skinner in the final 10-2.
The Golden Hawks’ Travian Cooke (160), Aaron Redus (120) Daniel Richardson (152) joined Galati as champions in their respective weight classes.
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Redus needed a last-second pin against Apex’s Chance Davis to come away victorious.
“I felt his hips drop a little, and I just kind of bumped mine out and rolled through it – which is exactly what he did to me earlier in the match,” Redus said. “I’m glad how it ended.”
Other Golden Hawks advancing to the state championships were: Cam Devers (138), Nick Connorchic (145), Josh Richardson (182) and Charles Toogood (220).
Cary also had several wrestlers who dominated. Will Clark (138), Parker Ragsdale (126) and Kollin Wade (132) all steam-rolled their way to championship finishes.
For the Imps, their eyes are firmly directed to fortune in the state finals at the Greensboro Coliseum starting Thursday.
“It’s not so much about winning; it’s about putting myself into position for next week,” Ragsdale said. “I just want to keep building off of it and get that No. 1 seed to give me an easier route to the finals.”
Cary’s Ian Anderson (106), Javon Jarrett (285), Mark Mulligan (160), Nick Tarvin (113) and Alex Zuniga (170) also all placed among the top four of their divisions to earn a place in the state 4A competition.
Green Hope’s Ian Callahan completed his impressive, unbeaten run through regionals with a first-period pin against Broughton’s Roberto Phillips in the 195 final.
Callahan has more than 150 career wins and will be joined at states by teammate Michael Eastwood (106).
“It’s a sigh of relief, but this isn’t what I want,” said Callahan, who finished fourth two years ago. “I won’t be satisfied until I get a state championship.”
Apex will send two wrestlers to the state competition: junior Chance Davis (120) and senior Daniel Krakowski (145).
Athens Drive will send three: Trey Cornish (120), Grant Finkbeiner (132) and Mahmoud Ghuweir (195).
Daniel Cockerill (113) will be the lone wrestler representing Fuquay-Varina while Panther Creek will send four: Miles Kent (145), Matt Stober (160), Cameron Shaffer (170) and Matt Powell (220).
Also Sunday: Cary Academy had two N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association wrestling champs in junior Matthew Gibbon (120) and senior Ian Siegal (152). Also placing for the Chargers were senior Austin Neaville (170, 4th place), junior Ahmad Atieh (145, 5th place) and junior Casey Miles (195, 5th place).
The Chargers took seventh overall in the championships.