DOBSON — North Surry wrestling coach Eric Jessup declined to claim the crown just yet, but there’s a pretty good chance that the Greyhounds have already ordered an “‘18” to add to the long list of conference championships displayed in the Ron King Gym.
The Hounds made themselves at home down the road at Surry Central on Friday night, downing the Golden Eagles 60-10 and then beating West Stokes 61-15 to improve to 4-0 in Western Piedmont Athletic Conference play. A 10th consecutive WPAC title for Jessup’s matmen will become official if North can beat Atkins next Friday night in Winston-Salem. The Hounds will be strongly favored to beat the Camels, in their first year as a WPAC school, but the team will wait until it’s over before they celebrate.
“I know Atkins is going to wrestle us tough next Friday,” Jessup said. “We just have to keep the wheels on the wagon and work hard in practice next week. We still have those final two matches left to wrestle in the regular season.”
After North Surry finished up, the Eagles and Wildcats wrestled each other, with Central taking the 48-24 victory.
The rivalry match was the first to take place, as North and Central decided just to open their match at 106 pounds and go right down the line. It opened with a decision win for the Hounds’ Landon Hiatt over Brenden Pack, but then the Eagles took a 6-3 lead when Casey Hutchens pinned Hunter George at 113. Unfortunately, that would be the last thing Central would have to celebrate for a while. The hosts had to give the lead right back when they forfeited 120 to North’s Caleb Martin, and then Adam Martin ended a tightly contested match at 126 by pinning Central’s Jaylon Jones.
Toby Pyles scored a pin over Eduardo Padilla at 132 to extend the Hounds’ lead to 21-6. North picked up a forfeit for Quinn Walker at 138, and then Reid Walker scored decisioned Matthew White at 145 to make it 30-6. Brandon Goins pinned the Eagles’ Mario Cortez at 152.
At 160 pounds, the Hounds’ Tye Smith and Central’s Steven Cambell put on a match that was worth the price of admission. This one went back and forth, with Cambell nearly pinning Smith in the first period, and then Smith doing the same to Cambell in the second, when it looked like the match was getting away from him. They went to the third period tied at 4-4, with Smith in the down position and Cambell trying for the first minute of the period to score a pin. However, Smith withstood every attempt and then scored a reversal, followed by a near-fall, to take the lead for the first time. Cambell responded with an escape after fighting off Smith’s bid for a pin, but wasn’t able to score again before time expired.
The next three matches involved standouts on both sides. North’s Sammy McMillian pinned Brandon Sanchez, then Central’s Forrest Antwine major-decisioned Riley Jenkins at 182. At 195, Avery Simmons quickly put away Trenton Stanley to extend the Hounds’ lead to 51-10. At 220 pounds, North’s Chase Brintle came from behind to beat Michael Branch 4-3, and then Jared Tickle pinned David Laura to end the match.
“I thought we wrestled really well tonight. We were healthy for the first time in several weeks, and Surry Central wrestled well. It wasn’t as one-sided as the final score indicated,” said Jessup.
The Greyhounds wrestled West Stokes next, while Central took a break from the action. This one was really over before it started, as the Wildcats had to forfeit seven weight classes. They could only have won if they’d pinned out in the other seven. When Caleb Martin decisioned West’s Isaac Church at 120 in the first contested match, that was out the window.
George, Smith, McMillian, Jenkins, Simmons, Brintle and Tickle all received forfeit wins. West Stokes did win three individual matches, as Evan Wall pinned Adam Martin at 126, Noah Hall decisioned Brandon Grant at 152 and Carson Goins pinned Landon Hunt at 106.
For North Surry, Pyles pinned Zach Watts at 132, Quinn Walker pinned Garett Lowe at 138 and Reid Walker major-decisioned Phillip Lowman at 145.
The nightcap between Central and West Stokes also featured several forfeits. The 106-pound class was a double forfeit, and Central received walkovers at 120 (Hutchens), 170 (Sanchez), 182 (Antwine), 195 (Daniel Valenzuela), 220 (Branch), and 285 (Laura). Zack Watts received a forfeit for West Stokes at 138.
In the contested matches, Jones decisioned Church 15-8 at 126, but Stokes’ Wall pinned Padilla at 132. At 145, White pinned Lowe to put Central ahead 15-12 at that point in the match. Cortez followed with a 5-3 decision win over Lowman at 152 to make it 18-12 in the home team’s favor. Stokes’ Noah Hall followed with a pin at 160 that tied the match at 18, but the next five weight classes were all forfeit wins for the Golden Eagles, and this match was over, although the Wildcats did score one more victory when Goins pinned Pack in the last match of the night.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.