Polk County wrestlers capture individual, team titles at Junior High State Championship

The future of wrestling in Polk County is rather bright. The present isn’t too shabby, either.

Led by a pair of individual state champions, a team of Polk County wrestlers took top honors Saturday at the 41st Annual Junior High State Championships, held at the Rise Sports Complex in Advance.

Polk County’s Styler Blackwell and Zalen McCraw each won state titles to lead the Wolverines, whose team consisted of wrestlers in grades 7-9 from both Polk County Middle and Polk County High Schools. Blackwell won the 154-pound class for eighth graders while McCraw claimed the 162-pound class for ninth graders.

Polk County finished ahead of teams from Pisgah High School, BeastWorks Wrestling in Jacksonville and East Wilkes Middle School.

Blackwell’s title came against a familiar foe as he faced Waynesville Middle School’s Ty Walker for the third time in the past two weeks. Blackwell and Walker entered the third period tied at 2-2, but Blackwell scored an escape and then a near-fall in the final period to secure his state title and claim his third straight win over Walker.

Polk Middle’s Efrain Rivera added a second-place showing in the 100-pound eighth grade class while Connor Ahlert and Kam Montgomery had third-place finishes. Sawyer Huff added a fourth-place result.

Polk County Middle’s Styler Blackwell earned a state championship Saturday, winning the eighth grade 154-pound class (photo courtesy Shane Blackwell)

Boys 7th Grade 92
Champ. Round 1 – Liam Jackson (Polk County) d. Matthew Deaton (North Carolina), 11-10
Quarterfinal – Justin Campos (BeastWorks Wrestling) p. Liam Jackson
Cons. Round 2 – Liam Jackson d. Garrett Moses (Northwoods Park Middle School), 4-3
Cons. Round 3 – Joseph Shook (NC Wrestling Factory) p. Liam Jackson

Boys 7th Grade 108
Champ. Round 2 – Karsen Whitt (North Carolina) p. Jace Williams (Polk County)
Cons. Round 3 – Aydan Dymes (North Carolina) p. Jace Williams

Boys 7th Grade 134
Quarterfinal – Cayden Laws (RS Central) maj. dec. Isaiah Staley (Polk County), 13-2
Cons. Round 3 – Troy Munday (Big Cats Wrestling Club) d. Isaiah Staley, 1-0

Boys 8th Grade 100
Champ. Round 1 – Efrain Rivera (Polk County) d. Ethen Curry (North Carolina), 5-3
Quarterfinal – Efrain Rivera tech. fall over Skylor Dickens (East Wilkes Middle School), 15-0
Semifinal – Efrain Rivera d. Kyce Cook (Smoky Mtn), 6-4
1st Place Match – Seth Jones Jr (Tech Fall Wrestling Club) d. Efrain Rivera, 10-5

Boys 8th Grade 108
Champ. Round 2 – Holton Quincy (Greenville Wrestling Club) maj. dec. Brody Wolfe (Polk County), 10-2
Cons. Round 2 – Brody Wolfe p. Michael Carpenter (North Wilkes Middle School)
Cons. Round 3 – Brody Wolfe d. Julian Combs (North Carolina), 6-0
Cons. Round 4 – Jekai Sedgwick (North Carolina) d. Brody Wolfe, 6-4

Boys 8th Grade 115
Champ. Round 2 – Conner Ahlert (Polk County) p. Tristan Minton (West Side Wrestling)
Quarterfinal – Conner Ahlert p. Henry Parnell (Big Cats Wrestling Club)
Semifinal – Jacob Candrilli (Big Cats Wrestling Club) p. Conner Ahlert
Cons. Semi – Conner Ahlert p. Cadence Andersen (Mt. Olympus Wrestling)
3rd Place Match – Conner Ahlert p. Joshua Thompson (North Carolina)

Boys 8th Grade 115
Champ. Round 1 – Joshua Thompson (North Carolina) d. Jaxtyn Virgil (Polk County), 8-2
Cons. Round 2 – Jaxtyn Virgil p. Colin Hunter (CORE Wrestling)
Cons. Round 3 – Jaxtyn Virgil p. Henry Aiden Ferguson (North Carolina)
Cons. Round 4 – Jaxtyn Virgil d. Tyler Shipman (Eastside Wrestling Club NC), 7-2
Cons. Round 5 – Cadence Andersen (Mt. Olympus Wrestling) p. Jaxtyn Virgil

Boys 8th Grade 122
Champ. Round 1 – Evan McCraw (Polk County) d. Mason Ray (North Carolina), 9-7
Champ. Round 2 – Brennan Ferguson (Tech Fall Wrestling Club) p. Evan McCraw
Cons. Round 3 – Braxton Earnhardt (North Carolina) d. Evan McCraw, 4-1

Boys 8th Grade 147
Champ. Round 2 – Zach McCraw (Polk County) p. Colton Moody (Mitchell High School Wrestling)
Quarterfinal – Jackson Gacono (North Carolina) d. Zach McCraw, 6-3
Cons. Round 4 – Zach McCraw p. Michael Bell (Carolina Elite Wrestling Club)
Cons. Round 5 – Zach McCraw p. Drew Martin (Elkin Middle School)
Cons. Semi – Tripp Sullivan (NC Wrestling Factory) d. Zach McCraw, 5-3

Boys 8th Grade 147
Champ. Round 2 – Jaxon Williams (North Carolina) tech. fall Simon Moore (Polk County), 16-1
Cons. Round 3 – Carter Facemyer (RAW (Raleigh Area Wrestling Club) p. Simon Moore

Boys 8th Grade 154
Champ. Round 2 – Styler Blackwell (Polk County) p. Luke Green (Peak Wrestling Club)
Quarterfinal – Styler Blackwell p. Christian Coward (Mt. Olympus Wrestling)
Semifinal – Styler Blackwell maj. dec. Iker Ramirez (Canton Middle), 10-2
1st Place Match – Styler Blackwell d. Ty Walker (Waynesville Middle), 6-2

Boys 8th Grade 172
Champ. Round 1 – Sawyer Huff (Polk County) d. Cy Jackson (Mad Dogs WC), 10-5
Quarterfinal – Stephen Anderson (North Carolina) maj. dec. Sawyer Huff, 13-5
Cons. Round 3 – Sawyer Huff p. Kameron Routh (North Carolina)
Cons. Semi – Sawyer Huff p. Samuel Pritchett (North Carolina)
3rd Place Match – Eric McKinney (Buffalo Valley Wrestling Club -NC) p. Sawyer Huff

Boys 8th Grade 222
Champ. Round 1 – Conrad Sherburne (RS Central) p. Talon Ramsey (Polk County)
Cons. Round 2 – Drayden Poe (North Carolina) p. Talon Ramsey

Boys 9th Grade 122
Champ. Round 1 – Dakota Parton (RS Central) won in sudden victory – 1 over Alex Martin (Polk County), SV-1 6-5
Cons. Round 1 – Alex Martin p. Alexander Rosado (Hoke County High School)
Cons. Round 2 – Alex Martin p. Robert Craft (East Wilkes Middle School)
Cons. Round 3 – Alex Martin d. Alexander Soukup (NC Wrestling Factory), 2-0
Cons. Semi – Ty Sisk (Greenville Wrestling Club) p. Alex Martin

Boys 9th Grade 122
Quarterfinal – Camron Whiterner (Julius Chambers) p. Amon Villarreal (Polk County)
Cons. Round 2 – Alexander Soukup (NC Wrestling Factory) won by forfeit over Amon Villarreal

Boys 9th Grade 128
Champ. Round 2 – Bryson Mcfalls (Mitchell High School Wrestling) d. Aiden Billings (Polk County), 6-4
Cons. Round 3 – Collin White (East Wilkes Middle School) p. Aiden Billings

Boys 9th Grade 140
Champ. Round 1 – Mykah Hills (Polk County) p. Ayden Tessneer (Mitchell High School Wrestling)
Quarterfinal – Anthony Delgado (West Henderson) p. Mykah Hills
Cons. Round 3 – Wesley Willey (East Wilkes Middle School) p. Mykah Hills

Boys 9th Grade 140
Quarterfinal – Isaiah Wilmoth (Polk County) p. Sebastian Arrowood (CHASE HS)
Semifinal – Aiden Koontz (West Forsyth) maj. dec. Isaiah Wilmoth, 9-0
Cons. Semi – Wesley Willey (East Wilkes Middle School) p. Isaiah Wilmoth

Boys 9th Grade 162
Quarterfinal – Zalen McCraw (Polk County) maj. dec. Chance Spohn (NC Wrestling Factory), 10-1
Semifinal – Zalen McCraw won in sudden victory – 1 over Donald Haley (Cary High School Wrestling), SV-1 6-5
1st Place Match – Zalen McCraw d. Sean McConley (Southview), 5-1

Boys 9th Grade 197
Round 1 – Mikey Portante (North Carolina) p. Lucas Johnson (Polk County)
Round 2 – Jaxon Metcalf (Eastside Wrestling Club NC) p. Lucas Johnson
Round 3 – Peyton King (South Caldwell High School Wrestling) p. Lucas Johnson

Boys 9th Grade 222
Quarterfinal – Kam Montgomery (Polk County) won in sudden victory – 1 over Brian McCormick (Southview), SV-1 6-4
Semifinal – Gabriel Jones (North Carolina) p. Kam Montgomery
Cons. Semi – Kam Montgomery p. Kaydon Lane (East Wilkes Middle School)
3rd Place Match – Kam Montgomery d. Brian McCormick (Southview), 6-1

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