Mount Airy junior Cody Smith closed an impressive wrestling season with a third-place finish at the individual state championships on Saturday. After being on the cusp of breaking through in each of the previous two seasons, Smith finally made it to the Greensboro Coliseum in 2016.
His coach, Cody Atkins, began crunching the numbers once the season ended this weekend. Atkins discovered that Smith earned the 100th victory of his career in the Western Regional on Feb. 13.
The milestone win came in the regional’s semifinal. Smith defeated Starmount’s Silas Holbrook 5-3, and his 100th victory also clinched a berth in the state championships the following weekend.
“I believe he’s gained the confidence to know he has a chance to win state, and it’s helped him on the mat,” Atkins said. “His technique has also improved just from working hard.”
Smith wrestled out of the 195-pound weight class this season, but he started his career in the 220 division as a freshman at Mount Airy. After falling one match short of a berth in the state championships, Smith transferred to Glenn High School where he wrestled last year as a sophomore.
At Glenn, he began his dominance in the 195 division. Still, he was unable to qualify for the grand finale in Greensboro as Glenn was a 4A school.
He returned to Mount Airy for his junior campaign and finished the season with a 41-6 record. Smith was also the Northwest Conference Wrestler of the Year for his winning-ways in the Mount Airy duals during the regular season.
In the state championships, Smith suffered a narrow 5-4 defeat to West Montgomery’s Allen Morril in the first round of the tournament. The Mount Airy junior was able to brush aside that early loss to win three consecutive matches, each by two points or less, to take home the bronze medal.
“He’s a defensive wrestler. A lot of his matches are really close,” Atkins said. “It’s just his style, and in a close match I always like him to come out with a win.”
His only loss of the tournament came to the runner-up. Morril made it all the way to the finals before losing a 5-1 decision to Avery County’s Ryan Sheppard. Coach Atkins believes his performance over the weekend is just the next step on his path to a state title.
“First and second place in his weight class were both seniors, so he could come into next season number-one in the state,” Atkins said. “He’s definitely got a chance to win a state title next year, and that’s something we’re very excited about.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16