High school wrestlers typically move up one weight class year to year from natural growth. That makes Wake Forest senior Nic Mutio an atypical story this season.
The third-place state medalist at 120 pounds in last season’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championships grew three inches to 5-foot-9, forcing him to jump up three weight classes.
But it hasn’t hurt him on the mat as he improved to 37-1 by winning the 138-pound title. He beat Sanderson’s Adrian Davenport 14-3 in the final of the Cap-8 Conference tournament Saturday hosted at Sanderson’s gym.
Mutio is in the unique position as both a contender for a state title and an unknown wild card. Wrestlers usually grow into weight classes together and are familiar with each other from past seasons. But Mutio has had little to no experience with his 138-pound opponents this season.
“My goal is still to win a state title,” Mutio said. “I’ve been working hard like every year. I work on techniques and I’ve gained strength.”
Mutio was named the Cap-8 Wrestler of the Year and his father Ed Mutio the Cap-8 Coach of the Year. Wake Forest won the regular-season dual conference title.
Another state medalist
Heritage’s Anthony Brito aims to improve on last year’s fifth-place state-meet performance at 126. He won the 132-pound title with a 20-5 technical fall over Broughton’s Jack Elliott.
“I’m wrestling the best I’ve ever wrestled,” Brito said. “I’m trying to push the pace and stay dominant.”
Pride’s team title
Leesville Road had wrapped up the conference team title by the finals, with eight finalists and six eventual champions out of 14 weight classes.
The champs were Justin Tibbs, 106; Simeon Ruff, 113; Jason Mills, 120; Dan Mills, 126; Cole Collins, 152; and Brandon Govan, heavyweight. The two runners-up were Cade Collins at 170 and Chris Judson at 220.
Dan Mills beat Millbrook’s Crayton Saby 11-3 in a matchup of two 2015 state-meet qualifiers. Cole Collins, who also was a state qualifier last year, beat Heritage’s Sheriff Nije 6-2.
By the numbers
3: Wake Forest had two other champions along with Mutio: Sander Cypher (160) and Joshua Cathcart (220). Cypher also is a returning state qualifier.
2A: Millbrook’s two champions were Matthew Engel (170) and Matt Jones (182).
2B: Two other schools with one champion were Broughton with Nash Philbeck (145) and Sanderson with Brenden Mullally (195).