Ten area wrestlers were crowned state champions at the N.C. High School Athletic Association individual championships on Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Area teams didn’t come away with a title. Those went to Mooresville (4A), Piedmont (3A), Foard (2A) and Uwharrie Charter (1A).
But Cary (second in 4A), Orange (fourth in 3A), Carrboro (fifth in 2A) and Rosewood (second in 1A) all fared well.
First and second
In all, 22 area wrestlers got to the finals. The only title bout that pitted two against each other were Rosewood sophomore Christian Decatur (58-1 overall) against Chatham Charter’s Chandler Steele (31-6) int he 1A 106-pound match. Steele, hoping to become the Knights’ first state champion, was pinned by Decatur 1 minute and 14 seconds into the match.
Decatur had finished runner-up last year. Ever since that loss, he had planned for this.
“I was working off of that loss the whole season,” he said. “It’s pretty nice to come back and win.”
He wasn’t the only Decatur to win it all.
Older brother Timothy Decatur (54-2), a junior, defeated Josh Poteat of Uwharrie Charter with a dominant 17-1 tech fall. Last year, he was third.
“I was determined this year, to come back,” Timothy Decatur said. “My mindset going into the tournament was to tech fall everybody.”
Rosewood had four other wrestlers scheduled for the finals: Reid Amodeo (49-6) lost in a 5-0 decision to Robbinsville’s Kade Millsaps; Jordan Todd (50-4), a defending state champ, lost a close 2-1 decision at 138 pounds to undefeated Jude Lloyd (45-0) of Elkin; Rosewood’s Nyterrius Williams (37-12) lost a 10-4 decision to Javon Armstrong of Pamlico County; 152-pound Seth Finney was a scratch on the final day for not making weight.
Also in 1A, Voyager Academy’s Jacari Deal (36-6) became the second state champ in school history with a 3-0 decision over South Stokes’ Cooper Ross.
“I wasn’t nervous at the beginning of the match. Coach told me to just wrestle out there like normal matches,” Deal said. “I just wanted to wrestle out there and just be me.”
Carrboro got two wrestlers to the 2A finals. David Veltri (33-2) fell 13-0 to West Lincoln’s Nathan Hull, while Quincy Monday ended his incredible career in style.
Monday – the son of Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kenny Monday and brother of UNC wrestler Kennedy Monday – won his fourth high school state title, and they've been spread across two states and four different weight classes. His two in Texas were done at 106 and 113 pounds. Last year, he won his first NCHSAA title at 132. He won this year’s state title with a 21-5 victory of Foard’s A.J. Wingate. Monday went 38-1 this season, the only loss coming in an out-of-state tournament.
“I’ve been lucky to have good workout partners and I’ve adjusted to the weight nicely and they give me a good feel, so I’m ready for matches at the higher weights,” said Monday, who has committed to Princeton. “I feel like (four titles) will get me a little respect (at home). It’ll be a stepping stone to an Olympic title. I’m on the way there.”
Northern Durham also got two wrestlers to the finals. Just like in 2013, when Rodney Shepard and Josh Brown won 4A titles, two Knights seniors – Gerald Mills at 106 and Hai Siu at 138 – reached the top of the 3A podium.
Mills (34-5), who is Brown’s brother, won with an 8-6 decision over Piedmont’s Bailey Wicker. After missing last year’s state tournament due to a groin injury suffered just before regionals, it was a sweet comeback for the senior.
“For me to redeem myself and just overcome this thing – no one ever thought I could do it,” Mills said. “I just kept my head up and kept going, day in and day out.”
Siu (43-2), in his first trip to the state tournament, won an 8-4 decision over Tony Locke of Jacksonville’s Northside High.
“I put a lot of work in the summertime and go wrestled a lot of different people,” Siu said.
Orange also had two wrestlers in the 3A finals.
Braden Homsey (36-1) was runner-up at 195, pinned by undefeated Tyrie Houghton of Weddington at the 1:59 mark, while Josiah Ramirez (37-1) won the 182-pound title with a pin with one second left in the second period over Terry Sanford’s Finley Allen.
Ramirez was a runner-up a year ago.
“It pushed me harder and made me work a little harder,” Ramirez said.
Like Ramirez, Cary’s Kobe Early and Cardinal Gibbons’ Jalen Brooks made good on their second straight appearances in state title matches.
Brooks took the 220-pound 4A title, capping a 36-0 season with a 5-0 decision over Mooresville’s John Jimenez. In the fall, Brooks was one of the state’s top football stat leaders, posting 24 sacks.
“It’s been amazing,” Brooks said of this year. “I’m taking my opportunities, executing what I needed to do and just grinding it out, doing that work."
Early (39-0) defeated Kaiden Fisher of Lake Norman 7-4 to earn the 4A 106-pound title one year after finishing runner-up. Early, a sophomore, has just one loss in his two seasons.
“There was no doubt in my mind,” Early said.
Sophomores fared well from the area: Apex’s Kaleb Williams (33-2) lost 11-6 in the 120-pound 4A title to Isaac Toe of High Point Central and Holly Springs’ Jaxon Maroney (24-0) won 2-1 over Toney McGee of McDowell County for the 126-pound title.
Maroney had quit wrestling last year because he was burned out, but came back refreshed. He now has an undefeated season to boot.
“This year is definitely better than in years past where I had more pressure on me,” Maroney said. “This year I just kind of came out here to have fun.”
Maroney’s teammate, Joshua Lehr, lost 9-7 to undefeated Tyler Gregor – who is now a three-time state champ, with the first two coming in 3A. It was Lehr’s first time back in the final match since his sophomore year, and those are his only two losses during that time span.
Broughton also made some noise in the 4A tournament with three runner-up wrestlers: Nic Valdespino (138) lost 1-0 to Mooresville’s Isaac Byers, Nash Philbeck (145) lost 8-5 to Mooresville’s Silas Shaw and Christian Hite (160) fell to Hoggard’s Alec Sampson 7-3.
Making the podium
Third: Apex Friendship’s Alec Montoya (4A 120), Middle Creek’s Logan Maher (4A 126), Wake Forest’s Ayush Patel (4A 132), Cary’s Ryan Wolfram (4A 170), Millbrook’s Holden Cypher (4A 182), Cary’s Davin Vann (4A 220), Clayton’s Noah Johns (3A 106), North Pitt’s Sincere King (2A 145), Voyager Academy’s Isaiah Bryant (1A 132).
Fourth: Holly Springs’ Aaron Wilkie (4A 120), Cary’s Cymek Shaw (4A 138), Middle Creek’s Chris Jones (4A 152), Broughton’s Kaleb Wright (4A 170), South Central’s Jerell Belcher (4A 195), Corinth Holders’ Larry Williams (4A 220), Rocky Mount’s Rahsun Lawrence (3A 120), Orange’s Bailey Hawkins (3A 132), Orange’s Levi Anderson (3A 138), Clayton’s Deondra James (3A 145), Union Pines’ Alex Faison (3A 160), Beddingfield’s Patrick King (2A 152), Southern Vance’s Tre’Quan Alston (2A 160), Farmville Central’s Malik Perkins (2A 170), Tarboro’s Raquavius Hopkins (1A 113), Neuse Charter’s Alexander Gonzalez (1A 145).
Fifth: Wake Forest’s Jack Malone (4A 195), Athens Drive’s Deshawn Jones (4A 285), Rocky Mount’s David Jacob (3A 106), Northern Vance’s Jamon Glover (2A 152).
Sixth: Sanderson’s Caide Smith (4A 145), Wake Forest’s Connor Voelker (4A 170), Cary’s Jordan Glover (4A 285), J.H. Rose’s Drew Sisk (3A 126), Cedar Ridge’s Colin Davis, Carrboro’s Victory Monnet (2A 120), North Pitt’s Khalic Everett (2A 285).