North Stokes competed in the 1A West Regional in Cherryville on Saturday and finished the season with three state qualifiers. Paden Lungrin (220), Dalton Sawyers (182), and Scott Jones (195) will make their way to the Greensboro Coliseum Friday and Saturday to compete in the NCHSAA’s state championship.
“I’m very pleased with how we wrestled. All of our kids won at least a match,” said coach Nicholas Brandes.
Tristan Fain wrestled just one match away from qualifying.
“Tristan wrestled lights out. He was giving up about eight pounds that day from a little sickness, but he went out there and was just straight sticking kids. He really showed himself and as a tenth grader, I’m really optimistic in the direction he’s trending,” the coach said.
Brandes also praised Tevan Carter and Trinity Fain for strong matches along with senior Ross Lucia.
“Our season was a mixed bag of ups and downs. We had some really great matches that I thought were going to launch us in the right direction and then we had some matches that made me question the direction we were going. Overall though, I have to say it was a good season. We had three kids qualify for state and had a two-to-one pinning ratio,” he said.
Sending three athletes to the state meet is an accomplishment the program hasn’t seen since at least since the 80’s or 90’s, according to Brandes.
“If it’s ever happened, it would have been when coach Lawson was here. The three kids that qualified, I thought, did it in some of the toughest weight classes,” he said.
As a sophomore at 220, Lungrin is making his second appearance at the state level.
“Paden is a cerebral wrestler, in such that he doesn’t put himself in bad situations. He’s always acutely aware and knows what he needs to do. He wrestled well and smart, which is a perfect combo for him. As someone who’s still filling out as a wrestler, the fact he qualified for a second time is amazing,” Brandes said.
At 195, Jones finished fourth in regionals propelling him to the next level.
“Scott doesn’t take shortcuts and never shorts a rep which is a big deal. Of all the wrestlers we took, Scott was the largest surprise because I think 195 has a ton of talent in it. He wrestled with a lot of guts and left it all on the mat,” the coach said.
Sawyers, at 170, pushed through an injury earlier this season to make it to state.
“He works so hard and never accepts anything less than 100 percent for himself. I would take his double-leg over just about anyone’s in the state. He is an amazing kid that we’re really going to miss next year.”
As seniors, Jones and Sawyers have earned the chance to wrestle the best in the state.
“As a coach I’m excited for them. It will be awesome to have three kids competing. I can’t express how proud I am of them and the team. We’re building something and these three kids qualifying for state is a huge building block for our team as well as our program.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.