WALNUT COVE — Six wrestlers from North Surry finished in the top three during the Joe Via Memorial Invitational tournament Saturday at South Stokes.
Also participating in the event were Carver, East Surry, Elkin, Forbush, Ledford, McMichael, North Forsyth, North Stokes, Northwest Guilford, South Stokes, and West Wilkes.
Rather than a team format, this event was an individual tournament with wrestlers advancing to later rounds. North Coach Eric Jessup said he signed up for the event because he wanted to simulate the type of format the conference uses for its season-ending tournament.
While typically an athlete can help his team in points by gutting out a tough loss rather than giving up a pin, this invitational is more like the NCAA basketball tournament with seatings and brackets and the winner moving on.
Sophomore Tristen Brannock won the 103-pound division. The second-ranked 2-A wrestler in the state won all three matches for the title.
His practice partner, Austin McMilllian, won two matches but lost the 112-pound title to finish second. Jessup said he was impressed. Austin’s only two losses coming in were to Dustin Huffman of West Wilkes; he beat Huffman and lost to Ben Dyar, ranked 10th in the state for 4-A schools.
Finishing third were Austin Collins (130), Tanner Riddle (135), Zach Creed (215) and Tyler Dowling (heavyweight).
At 140 pounds, Levi Taylor lost his third-place match in overtime and settled for fourth.
North Surry might have placed more wrestlers, but three were held out with injuries and a fourth withdrew.
Josh Thomas is recovering from a concussion; Austin Riggs and Tyler Riddle are recovering from shoulder injuries. Over the weekend, Logan Younger went for a takedown and in the scramble bloodied his nose.
Jessup said he had Younger withdraw so he could be looked after. The junior, who has moved into ninth place for 171 pounds, is okay and should be able to wrestle this weekend when North Surry hosts its own tourney. Tyler Riddle could also be ready by then.
While not a team event, wrestlers did earn points. Based on those points, McMichael had the best showing, while North Surry came in fifth.
“We wrestled well,” said Jessup, “it was just some tough competition.”
Rather than rest up for its tournament, North Surry heads to Starmount this evening for a team match.