MILLERS CREEK — Surry County means business when it comes to wrestling in the Northwest 1A Conference this winter.
East Surry’s wrestling team wrapped up a second strong week on the mats Saturday afternoon when the Cardinals claimed one individual title and had four other place-winners at the C.H. Necessary Invitational held at West Wilkes High School. This tournament, held in an individual format and which featured many of the area’s top teams, including all four Surry County schools, wrapped up a week in which East stayed unbeaten in dual-team action.
On Thursday night, the Cardinals had their home opener, inviting East Wilkes and North Forsyth to Pilot Mountain for a tri-meet. East routed the Vikings 72-12, and also won the latest installment of the “Battle of the Cardinals,” beating the Wilkes Redbirds 51-30. The wins pushed East’s record in duals to a perfect 5-0.
In the C.H. Necessary, Mitchell Edwards won the title at 195 pounds. The senior, who placed third in the state a year ago, continued his early dominance by working his way through the field to the title. Teammates Morgan East and Nathan Cox both brought home third-place medals, while Triston Russell and Austin Vernon (106) each came in fourth.
In Thursday’s action, the Cardinals picked up a bunch of forfeits in their match with North Forsyth, which opened at the 120-pound weight class. Jacob Haywood (120), Travis Dalton (126), Trenton Tarn (132), Cox (170), Edwards (195), Victor Bacho (220), East (285), Vernon (106) and Caleb Freeman (113) received walkovers.
Among the matches where a Cardinal had to wrestle, Adrian Caro won at 138 by pin, as did Russell at 145 and Joseph Becker at 160.
The showdown between the Cardinals was much more interesting. This match opened at 106 pounds, where Vernon pinned Dustin Moore. Freeman drew a forfeit at 113 to make it 12-0, and Haywood pushed it to 18-0 when he pinned Dylan Vandeventer.
The Wilkes Cardinals got on the board at 126 with a win by Jesse Aguilar over Dalton, but Tarn picked him up at 132 with a pin of Chandler Luffman for a 24-6 lead. East Wilkes’ Austin Bauguess pinned Caro at 138.
The 145-pound match was the first to go the distance. Russell outlasted Alex Royal 4-2 for a 27-12 East Surry lead, but Wilkes cut it back to single digits when Dakota Parks pinned Dorian Hogan at 152. Becker got the points back by pinning Ethan Waddell at 160 to make it 33-18.
It was do-or-die time for the Wilkes Cardinals, and they responded. At 170, Dustin Blackburn pinned Cox, and Jessie Howell did the same to Josh Joyce at 182. It was 33-30 with three matches left to go.
Luckily for East Surry, Edwards was the next man up. He took down Carlos Aguilar, and the home team took control down the stretch, pinning out. Bacho clinched the win at 220 with a pin of Caleb Combs, and Morgan East pinned Malachi Combs to finish it off.
In a quad held on Wednesday, Nov. 21, the Cardinals swept their foes, downing former conference rival Atkins 42-36 in their opener, and then beating Elkin 48-34 and North Stokes 48-30.
East Surry hits the road again for its next match, traveling to Walkertown on Tuesday night to face the Wolfpack and Ben L. Smith of Greensboro at 6 p.m.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.