“For the first time in 18 years of coaching at Piney Grove we were able to fill all 17 weight classes,” said Panthers wrestling coach Donald McHone.
The team finished their season 12-2 and went on to become champions in the Foothills Tournament and Co-Conference Champions alongside Chestnut Grove and Pilot Mountain Middle.
With 21 wrestlers competing altogether, 12 were in the varsity tournament that brought in team points. Nine placed in the top three overall.
Alex Zuber won first in the 172-pound weight class and Elijah France won first in heavy weight. France finished the season undefeated with a record of 18-0. Dylan Payne and Levi Collins placed second. Dakota Taylor, Aiden Emswiler, Mitch Petree, Orion Martin and Bert Garcia placed third. Six wrestlers in the JV tournament finished in the top three as well. Clayton Utt (1st), Waylon Melton (2nd), Tanner Bovender (1st), Joshua Dunaway (1st), Joshua Blankenship (2nd) and Jace Chatman (1st).
“I didn’t know what to expect this season because our team was so young. We only had six returning from the previous year,” McHone said. “I believe their success was due to their dedication to come in and work every day. They worked hard at practice and it showed on the mat.”
McHone coaches alongside Steve Jenkins and said he adds a great wealth of knowledge to the team. Both men wrestled locally throughout high school with McHone at North Stokes and Jenkins in Mount Airy.
“This has been an enjoyable group of wrestlers this year. They’re very coachable, they worked well together, and they were not willing to give up,” the coach said.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.