WALNUT COVE — North Surry’s Austin Collins and Levi Slate took first places in the Joe Via Invitational Tournament over the weekend.
Two 4A schools topped the rankings of the 14 wrestling teams in attendance, but 1A West Wilkes was third and 2A North Surry fourth.
With South Stokes fifth and East Surry sixth, the area schools represented well against teams from across the western region.
“Our two champions obviously had a very good showing,” said Coach Eric Jessup.
Collins won the 152-pound class by edging Bryant Halsch, Southeast Guilford, 6-5.
“Collins, coming back from the flu, is starting to look like himself again,” said Jessup.
Levi had another huge match with East Surry’s Cody Gaskill, noted Jessup. The two 195-pound wrestlers faced off the week before in the final of the Blackhawk Invitational.
Gaskill is one of the top upper-weight wrestlers in this area, the coach noted.
“Slate has done what he’s needed to do to win two very close matches,” he said.
Last week the result was a 3-2 decision, and this weekend it was 9-7.
Another great final was at 120 where North’s Austin McMillian, ranked second in the state for 2A, faced Tristan Dean, ranked sixth in 4A.
McMillian was winning in the third quarter, but Dean kept fighting and tied the score, forcing overtime, Jessup said.
The two battled through overtime still tied, so the match went to sudden-death OT. Dean was on bottom and pulled off an escape for one point to win 9-8.
McMillian wrestled at 113 last year and wants to get back to that weight again, noted Jessup. He came in at less than 115, so he was giving up about five pounds.
That’s still a lot better than Austin Rozier at 132, he added. Rozier wants to take McMillian’s spot at 120 and is nearly down to the weight, but wrestled against guys 10 to 11 pounds heavier.
Not only that, but Rozier had to wrestle in the same class as Austin Jamison, NW Guilford, who won the state 4A title at 126 last spring.
The 132 and 126 weights might have been the two toughest ones in the tournament, Jessup believed. Rozier is a great wrestler and didn’t place in the top four. The same went for Tristen Brannock.
Brannock made it to the semifinals before losing. Then he fell in the first match of the consolation bracket, too. West Wilkes’ Jake St. Germain, the top 1A wrestler at his weight, won first place.
In the consolation finals, North’s Devyn Green (145) lost to Dustin Huffman, who finished fourth in the 1A state tournament last year. Green finished fourth.
Levi’s brother, Cody Slate, won third place in a narrow 2-1 decision over Austin Joines, Elkin.
Cody just keeps getting better every week, Jessup said of the sophomore.
The Greyhounds host Atkins and Lexington today at 6 p.m. Then on Saturday, North Surry will host a dual-team tournament starting at 9 a.m.
1. 162.5 points, Southeast Guilford
2. 150.5 Northwest Guilford
3. 137 West Wilkes
4. 110.5 North Surry
5. 98 South Stokes
6. 83.5 East Surry
7. 76.5 Ledford
8. 62 RJ Reynolds
9. 52 Wesleyan Academy
10. 47 Elkin
11. 40 North Davidson
12. 27.5 Rockingham
13. 26 McMichael
14. 7 North Stokes