Knighton’s surge ends one match short of state wrestling tourney berth

Polk County's Dillon Knighton came within one match of qualifying for the state 2A individual wrestling tournament in the 2016-17 season.

Polk County’s wrestling season came to an end Saturday in the 2A West Regional, but not without quite a run from one of the Wolverines.

Rebounding from an opening-round loss on Friday, junior Dillon Knighton nearly fought his way through the consolation bracket to finish in the top four spots in the 152-pound class of the event, held at West Lincoln High School.

Knighton won three straight matches Saturday before falling to Brevard’s Daniel McJunkin on a first-period fall. Knighton would have earned a berth in the state tournament had he defeated McJunkin.

“DK couldn’t have wrestled any better,” said Polk County head coach Phillip Miller. “Probably half the champions in the state last year came from our region. It’s the toughest 2A bracket in the state, and he nearly came all the way back through to make it.”

Knighton pinned Maiden’s Raymond Zavata and West Lincoln’s Kendall Sigmon, then decisioned Spencer Brackett of Newton-Conover before falling to McJunkin.

Junior heavyweight Devin Panchyshyn won his opening match Saturday, pinning West Caldwell’s Devon Rice, before falling to Chase’s Spencer Williams.

Preston Burnett lost his first match of the day in the 126-pound class to East Rutherford’s Drew Pinion while Darryl Caesar suffered a 1-0 loss to West Lincoln’s Pedro Reyna in his lone match of the day.