WEST JEFFERSON — In the final matchups of the season, the Ashe County wrestling team won five of seven contests in the Kannapolis Duals and a Tri-Match at Starmount.
Days later at the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Tournament, Ashe County saw seven wrestlers place in the top four of their respective weight classes.
At the Kannapolis Duals Jan. 19 in Kannapolis, the Huskies managed to leave with a 3-2 record in their five matchups. The Huskies scored 215 total points to their opponents’ 164, but in losses were outscored by a combined 22 points.
Against the A.L. Brown Wonders, the Huskies lost by a slightly closer tilt than the 49-30 final score showed. Without any points awarded for forfeiture, the score would have been 31-18, still a Wonders win.
A monstrous showing from Nate Brown (106) let him pin Maria Contrares in 20 seconds. Trent Baker (126) took a bit longer, but was still able to pin Eric Macias in the second period. The only other points Ashe got without forfeiture was from Gabriel Bare (170), who beat Hayden Hamlin late in the second period. Zachariah Bare (220) and Logan Richardson (285) were able to pick up 12 points for the Huskies via forfeit.
Facing off against the Jesse C. Carson Cougars, the Huskies pulled out a 42-33 win, which included a double forfeit in the 113 weight class.
Baker (126) pinned Mason Dodrill in 48 seconds, only to have his time bettered by teammate Gabriel Bare (170), who pinned Ian Shue in 22 seconds for the fastest win of the tilt. Andrew Peterson (138) and Kabel Dillard (152) both won in the second period, beating Isaac Diaz and Joseph McGrady respectively. Zachariah Bare (220), Richardson (285) and Brown (106) won via forfeiture.
Ashe rolled over the Dudley Panthers, winning 60-16 and only losing one match without forfeiture.
Brown, wrestling at 113, and Richardson were the only Huskies who won points while having to wrestle, defeating Darian Noble and A’mon McManus respectively. Drake Elliott (145) lost a major decision to Kristian Jones for the Panthers’ only win of the matchup. Baker (126), Andrew Peterson (138), Dillard (152), Gabriel Bare (170), Zachariah Bare (220) and Ben Knotts (160) all won via forfeiture, with a double forfeiture in the 106 weight class.
The Huskies picked up a 50-30 win over the Jay M. Robinson Bulldogs in a matchup that only featured five forfeits.
JJ Mannan (132) won a 10-1 major decision over Owen Burkhart and Elliott (145) won a 9-1 major decision over Joshua Heyward. Andrew Peterson (138) pinned Emiliano Chavez in just under two minutes while Dillard (152) won a long battle with Griffin Decker in the third period. Zachariah Bare (220) pinned Jacob Brown in the first period, while Nate Brown (106) and Baker (126) won their matchups with Ethan Bordeman and Jauron Morrison respectively. Gabriel Bare (170) and Richardson (285) won via forfeiture.
The final opponent Ashe faced was the West Rowan Falcons in a tight 36-33 loss. The Huskies lost the 113 and 195 weight classes by forfeit.
Baker (126) won a high-scoring, 14-10 decision over Luke Harrison, Drake Elliott (145) won a tight, 6-4 decision over Lane Adkins. Andrew Peterson (138) pinned Delijee Robinson in the second period. Gabriel Bare (170) and Zachariah Bare (220) pinned Nathan Estrada and Drake Martin respectively. Logan Richardson (285) and Brown (106) defeated Jaquan Turner and Devon Pena respectively for the last wins of the matchup.
TRI-MATCH AT STARMOUNT
The Huskies were victorious in both matches in Starmount Jan. 24, blowing out Elkin 60-18 and scraping by Starmount 40-37.
Ashe County dominated conference-foe Elkin, as forfeits played a major role in the Husky win. Andrew Peterson (138), Knotts (160), Gabriel Bare (170), Timothy Peterson (195) and Drake Elliott (145) tallied forfeit wins for the Huskies.
Ashe County also received points from Drew Rowland (120), Baker (126), Mannan (132), Dillard (152) and Zachariah Bare (220) pinned their opponents.
The Elks won a match by forfeit, and also had two pins. CJ Henderson (285) pinned Ashe’s Richardson (285) in the second period, and Elkin’s David Javier (106) took down Brown (106) in the final period.
Against Starmount, the score was much tighter. Brown (113), Rowland (120), Gabriel Bare (182), Zachariah Bare (285) and Richardson (220) pinned their opponents, while Mason Calhoun (126) won by forfeit and Baker (132) won by Major Decision.
MVAC CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
The Huskies had seven wrestlers place at the annual Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Tournament Jan. 26. Zachariah Bare (220) placed first, Gabriel Bare (170) and Baker (126) placed second, Andrew Peterson (138) and Drake Elliott (145) place third and Rowland (120) and Mannan (132) placed fourth. Zachariah Bare was also voted Wrestler of the Year by MVAC wrestling coaches.
“We had a great showing at the conference tournament,” Ashe County head coach Adam Elliott said. “We would have liked to have had more and higher placers, but we have a tough conference. I am proud of our wrestlers for their hard work in the weight room. It continues to show on the mat.”
Zachariah Bare (220) had a bye in the quarterfinals, pinned East Wilkes’ Caleb Combs in the first period during the semifinals and won by a Major Decision of 14-3 over West Wilkes’ Alex Rowland in the first place match.
Gabriel Bare (170) pinned Brandon Esparza of East Wilkes in the quarterfinals, won by a 6-4 Decision in the semifinals against North Wilkes’ Isaac Powell and was pinned by Garrett Shumate of West Wilkes in the first place match. Baker (126) received a bye in the quarterfinals, won by a 20-4 Technical Fall over West Wilkes’ Branson Miller in the semifinals and was pinned in the second period by Evan Wagoner of Alleghany in the first place match.
Andrew Peterson (138) won by a 13-1 Major Decision over Caison Houck of North Wilkes in the quarterfinals, was pinned by Starmount’s Sterlin Holbrook in the semifinals, pinned Elkin’s Ethan Van Horn in the second period in the consolation semifinals and defeated Kekoa Brown of East Wilkes by a 14-2 Major Decision in the third place match. Drake Elliott (145) defeated Gus Wagoner of Alleghany in the quarterfinals, lost by a 10-4 Decision to Austin Bauguess of East Wilkes in the semifinals, defeated Noah South of North Wilkes by a 10-2 Major Decision in the consolation semifinals and downed Wilkes Central’s Jordan Jarvis in the third place match.
Mannan (132) fell to Cody Billings of North Wilkes in the quarterfinals, received a bye in round one of the consolation bracket, defeated Alleghany’s Riley Pruitt by a 3-2 decision in the consolation semifinals and lost again to Billings in the third place match. Rowland (120) received a bye in the quarterfinals, was pinned by East Wilkes’ Daniel Ferguson in the semifinals, defeated Ariel Lagunas of North Wilkes in the consolation semifinals and fell to Luke Christian of Elkin in the third place match.
Now that the conference tournament is behind them, Adam Elliott said his team has spent two hard weeks preparing for the regional tournament.
“We believe we will have 11 guys seeded for the tournament, which is more than we have had in several years, which is promising for the years to come since we are such a young team,” Adam Elliott said. “ At this point of the season, we push the guys on their conditioning, intensity and mental toughness, because nothing will be easy from this point forward.”