DOBSON — Local wrestling teams showed well in the Jimmy Martin Classic at Surry Central on Saturday.
North Surry and Mount Airy each had several outstanding performances to go along with the hosting Golden Eagles.
The three schools put on great showings for the crowd. Central edged Mount Airy by just a point, then later lost to the Greyhounds by only three points.
South Iredell, a 3A school, went 5-0 for first place on the day.
North Surry was second at 4-1, Central third at 3-2 and Mount Airy fourth at 2-3. Forbush was fifth at 1-4, and Elkin was last at 0-5.
Central Coach Stephen Priddy, who hosted the day-long event, said he thought the local schools’ matches were very close.
“On any given day, the results of two through four could have been different,” Priddy said.
“Jessup has been king of the hill for a while now, ” Priddy said of his long-time friend North head coach Eric Jessup. However, he thinks the other programs have gained ground and can contend with the Greyhounds.
In fact, he said the three teams weren’t that far off from pulling out wins against the 3A school.
Priddy said he had five players who went undefeated on the day. He also thought North’s Austin Rozier looked really good Saturday.
Central’s Nathon Bautista went 4-0 and rested out one match. Kevin Pack, Uriel Secundino, Zack Martin and freshman David Pena all went 5-0.
Another freshman, Kaleb Dunn, was 4-1 with his only loss to South Iredell, a 3-2 score until Dunn made a high-risk takedown attempt and was taken down himself.
“I thought our freshmen did an outstanding job today,” said Priddy. This was the first time they participated in a big tournament.
At the middle school, the most those young men wrestled was two matches in the same day, three at the end of the season. Having five matches in one day is a big wakeup call and tests their endurance and heart. Pena, Dunn and Chase Boone all had good matches.
Pena was the last wrestler against Mount Airy. His win clinched the victory 37-36.
In the 45-30 loss to South Iredell, the Eagles fell far behind in the early going before cutting into the lead.
Priddy pointed out a nice pin for Bautista against the wrestler who beat him in the Rick Williams Tournament last year, Matthew Insogna.
Jessup said he was pleased with the way his team finished strong against Central. Down 15 points with only three matches left, the Hounds earned three straight pins for the 42-39 win.
North Surry roughed up Elkin (62-12) and Forbush (60-24).
The score looks lopsided against Mount Airy, but Jessup and Priddy both said that the final is deceiving.
The Hounds won 58-19, but the individual matches were often very close.
North’s Austin McBride and Devyn Green had back-to-back wars with Cameron Pack and Landon Mumford for decision wins. Otherwise the Bears could have won four straight weights in the middle of the lineup.
McBride had two tough wins in a row, beating Pack and Elkin’s Walker Longworth. He was tired and that may have been how he got caught early in a cradle by South Iredell for his only loss of the day, Jessup said.
North lost to South Iredell 47-25. Jessup said he thought the team gave up three pins in matches it should have won.
Corbin Bullins was caught in a trick move by South Iredell, said Jessup. He will have to learn that lots of top wrestlers have go-to moves, and he will have to keep his guard up all the time, the coach said.
Austin Akers at heavyweight should have gotten a win, but he got sloppy, the coach said.
If McBride, Bullins and Akers had pulled out three-point decision wins, North could have won 34-29.
As for North’s top performers on the day, Austin Rozier, Devyn Green, Cody Slate and Zacch Gregory all went 5-0.
Of Rozier, Jessup said, “I know my opinion is biased, but I thought he was the best wrestler in the building.” Jackson Blizzard is a three-time state qualifier, but Rozier was winning 20-9 when he managed to pin Blizzard.
Mount Airy is looking very strong, Jessup said. Freshman Jacob Hogue is something else at 106, hanging with Nathon Bautista at 113. Fellow freshman, J.J. Wheeler (195), looks really good, too.
With a little bit of lineup juggling, coaches Steve Braune and Michael Bodnar have a team that could challenge for the 1A team title, Jessup said, especially now that perennial powerhouse West Wilkes has bumped up to 2A.
Saturday was a great, fun day of wrestling, said Jessup, but he hopes that people remember why they all came together. The Jimmy Martin Classic is named in honor of a great man and a great assistant coach, he noted.