Polk County freshman Efrain Rivera, center, with coaches Dave Minnich (left) and Thomas Hensley holds the bracket and trophy he earned Friday for his victory at the Elizabeth Barry Memorial (photo courtesy Shane Blackwell)

It felt a bit Friday like Christmas came early for Polk County wrestling coach Thomas Hensley.

Everywhere he looked at the Elizabeth Barry Memorial at Mallard Creek tourney, a Wolverine was faring well – and doing so against wrestlers from much larger schools.

Jadyn Virgil and Zalen McCraw claimed third-place finishes. Amon Villarreal grabbed a fourth. Styler Blackwell and Brody Wolfe had sixth-place showings.

And the star of the day, freshman Efrain Rivera, recorded a pair of pins Friday to win the 106-pound class.

Happy holidays indeed.

“I’m really proud of this group,” Hensley said. “Walking into a tournament with 37 other schools largely from the Charlotte and Greensboro area, it is always nerve-racking to see how you’ll do. These guys stepped up and delivered a great performance.

“Efrain Rivera was the talk of the town after people saw how dominant he was. Zalen McCraw losing in the first round and coming back for third was very impressive. Jadyn Virgil is Mr. Consistency, proving he is one of the top 215s in the state. Amon Villarreal is becoming a fixture in the medal rounds. He is opening a lot of eyes. Brody Wolfe and Styler Blackwell both taking sixth proves the great work they are putting in.”

Those wrestlers helped push Polk County to a fourth-place showing as a team, trailing only Trinity, Porter Ridge and Mallard Creek.

“We will continue to improve and put Polk County on the map,” Hensley said.

The Wolverines are next slated to be in action on Dec. 30, traveling to Patton for the 2023 Panther Duals.

SATURDAY’S RESULTS
VARSITY BOYS 106

Semifinal – Efrain Rivera (Polk County) p. Chayce Jones (Bandys) (Fall 0:53)
1st Place Match – Efrain Rivera p. Landon Logan (A.L. Brown) (Fall 2:44)

VARSITY BOYS 113
Semifinal – Cameron Massey (Olympic) d. Brody Wolfe (Polk County), 10-6
Cons. Semi – Edgar Vasquez (Trinity) d. Brody Wolfe, 9-3
5th Place Match – Anirudh Baddi (Marvin Ridge) d. Brody Wolfe, 3-2

VARSITY BOYS 120
Semifinal – Trevor Freeman (A.L. Brown) p. Amon Villarreal (Polk County) (Fall 1:06)
Cons. Semi – Amon Villarreal d. Louis Scott (North Gaston), 5-1
3rd Place Match – Mateo Diaz (South Rowan) p. Amon Villarreal (Fall 1:53)

VARSITY BOYS 126
Cons. Round 4 – Alex Colon-Perez (Glenn) p. Aiden Billings (Polk County) (Fall 2:57)

VARSITY BOYS 144
Cons. Round 4 – Michael Kepler (Weddington) tech. fall Carson Bell (Polk County), 15-0

VARSITY BOYS 150
Cons. Round 4 – Carter Pasfield (Mallard Creek) d. Jacob Ed (Polk County), 4-3

VARSITY BOYS 157
Cons. Round 4 – Styler Blackwell (Polk County) d. Dante`vius Brewer (Porter Ridge), 3-0
Cons. Round 5 – Styler Blackwell p. Brayden Smith (East Gaston) (Fall 4:37)
Cons. Semi – James Weaver (North Gaston) p. Styler Blackwell (Fall 4:57)
5th Place Match – Lawson Coltrane (Trinity) maj. dec. Styler Blackwell, 11-3

VARSITY BOYS 165
Cons. Round 4 – Kamari Chislom (Mallard Creek) p. Zachary McCraw (Polk County) (Fall 3:35)

VARSITY BOYS 175
Cons. Round 4 – Zalen McCraw (Polk County) won by forfeit over Ian Maxwell (Olympic)
Cons. Round 5 – Zalen McCraw d. Jazeo Jaime (Central Cabarrus), 2-1
Cons. Semi – Zalen McCraw p. Luke Shipley (Weddington) (Fall 1:29)
3rd Place Match – Zalen McCraw won by medical forfeit over Felix Montiel (North Henderson)

VARSITY BOYS 215
Semifinal – Reese Meadows (North Henderson) p. Jadyn Virgil (Polk County) (Fall 1:34)
Cons. Semi – Jadyn Virgil p. William Billy Hoelscher (South Mecklenburg) (Fall 1:23)
3rd Place Match – Jadyn Virgil d. Dewayne Davis (North Gaston), 7-5