At left, Polk County High wrestler Tori Strickland and head coach Adam Dedmon; top right, Jacob Ed stands atop the podium after winning his weight class; bottom right, members of Wolverine Wrestling Club break for fun between matches (all photos courtesy WWC)

Jacob Ed earned the third junior high state championship in Polk County Middle School history on Saturday, winning his division at the 38th Annual Junior High State Championship in Concord.

The North Carolina USA Wrestling event included three tournaments – the 2020 NCHSAA Women’s Wrestling Invitational, the 20th Annual Elementary State Wrestling Championships and the junior high event. Polk County had athletes competing in each tourament.

Ed earned top honors in the seventh grade 128-pound weight class. He finished 3-1 in the round-robin format, ending his day win a pin of Elijaha Limeberry of Bryson City.

Ed joins Chase Emory and Damion Cantrell as the only Polk County Middle School wrestlers to win state junior high tournament titles.

Polk County Middle’s Topher Pearson ended his career with a bit of history as well. Pearson placed third in the eighth grade 100-pound weight class, winning four matches during the day. That gives him 32 wins for his career, the most by any PCMS wrestler.

Pearson dropped his first match of the day, but rebounded with four straight victories, including a 2-1 decision over Trey Hinson of Piedmont Warriors in the third-place match.

Three other PCMS wrestlers – Conner Davis, Brinson Ashworth and Logan Rhodes – competed in the tourney.

Polk County High’s Tori Strickland competed in the NCHSAA Women’s Invitational. Strickland finished 1-2 in the 106-pound A class, which had to be split into two divisions due to the number of entrants. The tournament reflected the growing interest in women’s wrestling in the state, with 182 entrants. There were 81 wrestlers in the first women’s invitational a year ago.

Strickland dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Bandys’ Bryce Kirkland in her first match, but rebounded to pin Mitchell’s Halley Wheeler. Swain’s Tynighia Lillard ended Strickland’s day with a pin in her third match.

A handful of wrestlers from the Wolverine Wrestling Club also competed in the elementary tournament. WWC’s Styler Blackwell and Brantley Bryson each earned wins during the day, with Blackwell picking up two victories in the 5th-6th Grade 135-pound class and Bryson taking two wins in the 1st-2nd Grade 49-pound class to place fourth.

Pre K – Kindergarten 49
Round 1 – Celso Montiel (828 Wresting Club) won by fall over Kade Wilson (WWC) (Fall 0:24)
Round 2 – Celso Montiel (828 Wresting Club) won by fall over Kade Wilson (WWC) (Fall 0:52)

Pre K – Kindergarten 56
Round 1 – Hunter Sargent (Fear This Wrestling Club) won by fall over Boaz Wilson (WWC) (Fall 2:39)
Round 2 – Hunter Sargent (Fear This Wrestling Club) won by fall over Boaz Wilson (WWC) (Fall 2:14)

1st-2nd Grade 49
Quarterfinal – Benex Velasco (Tar River Wrestling Club) won by major decision over Brantley Bryson (WWC), 12-1
Cons. Round 1 – Brantley Bryson (WWC) won by decision over Matilda Jacob (Panther Pride Wrestling), 6-4
Cons. Semi – Brantley Bryson (WWC) won by fall over Trentin Shaffer (Hayesville Youth Wrestling) (Fall 1:10)
3rd Place Match – Marshall Cisar (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) won by fall over Brantley Bryson (WWC) (Fall 0:51)

1st-2nd Grade 62
Quarterfinal – Braxton Brown (West Wilkes Wrestling Club) won by fall over Brooks Madison (WWC) (Fall 0:17)
Cons. Round 3 – Brooks Deitz (Haywood Elite Wrestling Club) won by major decision over Brooks Madison (WWC), 12-0

3rd-4th Grade 105
Quarterfinal – Easten Binckley (Currituck Wrestling Club) won by fall over Chester Wilson (WWC) (Fall 0:11)
Cons. Semi – Brayson Gough (Appalachian Youth Wrestling) won by fall over Chester Wilson (WWC) (Fall 1:51)

5th-6th Grade 117
Quarterfinal – Cooper Parlier (Alleghany Wrestling Club) won by fall over Durham McEntire (WWC) (Fall 0:19)
Cons. Round 1 – Drew Martin (Panther Pride Wrestling) won by fall over Durham McEntire (WWC) (Fall 0:27)

5th-6th Grade 135
Champ. Round 1 – Styler Blackwell (WWC) won by fall over Barrett Potter (Mitchell Youth) (Fall 2:24)
Quarterfinal – Charles Merino (Pinning Pythons) won by major decision over Styler Blackwell (WWC), 10-2
Cons. Round 2 – Styler Blackwell (WWC) won by fall over Brice Baker (The School of Hard Knocks) (Fall 0:59)
Cons. Round 3 – Colten Mcfalls (Jackson County Gladiators) won by fall over Styler Blackwell (WWC) (Fall 2:57)

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