This weekend, four of West Lincoln`s Senior wrestlers had the opportunity to compete in the National High School Coaches Association Senior Championships. Wrestlers earned their way to the Senior Nationals by placing in the top of their weight class at the state level.
John Harkey, Zeb Elmore, Dustin Hester, and Antonio Rojo represented the Rebels in Cleveland, Ohio at the three-day event.
At 103 lbs., John Harkey pinned Nathan Baca of New Mexico in 2:43 of the first round. In the quarterfinal round, Daniel Earley of Ohio defeated Harkey. In his last match Sunday, Harkey was defeated by Beau Lem of Ohio 14-2.
Zeb Elmore competed in the 135 pound weight class. In the first round, Ryan Webb of Michigan scored a technical fall over Elmore with a score of 17-2. With a loss, Elmore dropped to the consolation bracket. Garrett Cupp of Arizona defeated Elmore 10-1.
West Lincoln`s 152 lbs. Dustin Hester also qualified after placing second in the state tournament. In the first round, Hester was defeated by Cory Beeson of California 16-0. In the consolation bracket, he scored a hard-fought win over Leonard LeBlanc 4-2. In the second match of the day Saturday, South Dakota`s Ryan Meyer scored a major decision over Hester with a score of 10-2.
Despite the loss, Hester enjoyed the whole weekend experience.
â€œThat guy from California was real good. I did get one (win), so I was happy about that. It was awesome up there,â€ he said.
At 275 lbs., Antonio Rojo went to the tournament as the North Carolina 2A State Champion. In his first match, he pinned Sean Griffin of Massachusetts in 1:18. Rojo was then defeated by Jake Wood of Ohio by a score of 5-2. In the next match, James Connors of Massachusetts defeated Rojo in overtime by claiming the first takedown.
Coach Butch Ross was pleased with his wrestlers` performance. He said, “The boys went up there and wrestled hard. When you get to that level, you meet kids that are the best in their state. It is a very tough tournament.”
All four of West Lincoln`s wrestlers were named Academic All Americans for their hard work in the classroom while they were in Cleveland. Ross said, “It takes a lot to be a good wrestler, but it takes a lot more to be a good wrestler and keep up your grades in the classroom. I am very proud of what they have accomplished.”
by Elizabeth Ross Carpenter