KERNERSVILLE — This year’s Northwest 1A Conference wrestling championship was held at Bishop McGuinness, but it was the Mount Airy Granite Bears who made themselves at home.
Mount Airy, which won the NW1A’s regular-season title by sweeping all of the other conference teams in duals, won individual championships in nine of the 14 weight classes and claimed the overall title.
The Granite Bears, who will enter the state 1A dual-team playoffs as the No. 2-ranked team in the state, had all 14 members of their starting lineup earn some sort of recogntion. Ten of the Mount Airy wrestlers reached the championship round and earned automatic all-conference recognition, two more were chosen by a vote of the coaches, and the other two were honorable mention all-conference honorees.
Jacob Hogue, the state’s top-ranked 1A wrestler at 126 pounds, was named the Conference Wrestler of the Year, and head coach Cody Atkins was named as Coach of the Year. It was the third straight year they had earned those honors.
Winning championships for the Bears were Barron Pilson (106 pounds), Hogue, Joan Ramirez (132), Johnny Dollyhigh (138), Chris Butera (145), Austin Tumbarello (152), Jesus Luna (160), John Bennett (170) and Cody Smith (195). At 182, Eric Olvera reached the finals, but lost to East Surry’s Mitchell Edwards, who is ranked No. 3 in the state at that weight class.
Luis Osorno, at 120, and Gray Stone at 285 were both named to the all-conference team by the coaches’ vote, and Daniel Olvera (113) and Josh Holmes (220) were honorable mention.
“We had a great day today,” said Atkins. “We wrestled great, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Atkins paid special note to Dollyhigh’s championship. The junior, who is ranked No. 3 in the state by RetroRankings.com at his weight class, faced a partictularly strong field at 138, but went right through the bracket to claim the top seed for the regionals in two weeks.
“In my opinion, 138 was the toughest class in the tournament,” he said. “I thought winning that class was a great achievement.”
East Surry also made its mark in the championship. The Cardinals, who finished the regular season in second place behind the Bears, put 12 of their wrestlers into either the championship or consolation finals. Edwards and Morgan East each won conference titles for East, with Ryan Presnell, Stephen Creech and Austin East placing second. Adrian Caro, JT Tarn, Joe Becker, and Luis Suarez all won the consolation final and placed third.