Jerry Cox looks at this season’s accomplishments of Polk County Middle School’s wrestling program with plenty of pride.
But the numbers and records are not what the third-year head coach will remember most about the 2019-2020 squad.
“Although the (Blue Ridge Conference tournament) was good and the season was a really a foundational year for us, what I’ll remember the most is how much fun these kids had working hard,” Cox said.
“Many times you could find them singing Sweet Caroline, No Rest for the Wicked and other songs while running sprints. They worked extremely hard all year, and I was glad many of them got some hardware to take home.”
That hardware came from the BRC tourney, which put a fitting topper on the season. At the Feb. 1 event at Pisgah High School in Canton, the Wolverines produced a number of notes to remember:
- Topher Pearson became the first two-time BRC champ in school history and the second to twice place in the conference tourney. Pearson ended his career with a 28-18 record, those 28 wins being third most in school history
- The team had the most tournment qualifiers (15) and tournament placers (fourth or above) in school history
- PCMS had the second-best team improvement over pre-tournament seeding. Say a wrestler entered the tourney seeded eighth, but placed fifth. That’s a +3 gain in seed:place differential. Polk Middle finished with a +12 differential, just behind Flat Rock’s +13
- Seventh grader Jacob Ed reached the final round at 122 pounds as did John Wright, who entered seeded sixth at 154 pounds. Polk Middle had five finalists, with Pearson (100), Luke Miller (172) and Conner Davis (222) the others
- Charlie Jackson had perhaps the match of the tournament, a double-overtime win over Brevard Middle’s Elijah Eubanks in the first round at 162 pounds
- Carson Bell completed his season with six wins, a new best for a PCMS sixth grader
Polk Middle finished sixth in the team standings, but were just six points away from a third-place finish. Apple Valley won the team title.