Each year South Stokes hosts the Rick Williams Dual Tournament in honor of their former wrestling coach. This year seven teams participated in dual matches on Saturday in Walnut Cove. The Sauras finished the day 1-3, while co-champions Mount Airy and South Iredell placed first with each having a 4-0 record.
“I’m glad we were able to get the matches in today,” said Saura coach Chad Amos. “We gave up weight classes, but we don’t mind. I was pleased with the way our guys wrestled and we were in better conditioning than I thought we would be since we hadn’t wrestled since December 20.”
The Sauras received a bye to start the tournament, but wrestled 2A newcomer North Davidson in their first match of the day. Junior Steven Fatz, the team’s only state qualifier, pinned Khalil Ivey in the second period for an early 6-0 lead. Cooper Ross pinned David Livesay in the 170lb weight class and the home team was up 12-0. A loss at 182lbs and forfeits in the next two weight classes had the Sauras down 18-12. Cody Lawson (106lbs) received a forfeit to knot the score at 18, but South lost their next three matches and trailed 36-18. Ricky Gonzales (132lbs) pinned Arthur Kheune with 17 seconds left in the match to trim the lead by six, but a forfeit in the 138lb weight class gave the points back. Jackson Boles (145lbs) and Kaleb Mitchell (152lbs) won by pin fall over their opponents, but the Sauras fell 42-36.
In match number two, South fell to Surry Central by the same 42-36 score. Ross and Boles won by forfeit, while Justin Flinchum (120lbs), Gonzales, Mitchell, and Fatz won by pin falls. The Sauras only lost three actual matches, but had to forfeit four weight divisions.
South wrestled 3A perennial powerhouse McMichael in the third contest of the day and lost 42-29. They gave up three weight classes by forfeit and won five matches. Ross and Lawson received forfeits, while Gonzales and Kaleb Mitchell won by pin fall and Boles had a 17-0 tech fall over Amir Jahangir.
In the final match of the day, the Sauras wrestled 4A Reagan Raiders and won 38-24. Both teams had double forfeits in the 195lb and 220lb divisions, while the Sauras forfeited at the heavyweight class for an early 6-0 deficit. The Phoenix got a pin at 106, but the home team was able to cut into the score at 12-4 when Lawson beat Cayden Lodd 13-5. Another loss by the Sauras had them down 18-4, but a forfeit by McMichael and a 15-2 victory by Gonzales closed the gap at 18-14 with six matches left. Another forfeit by the Sauras in the 138lb class was the last points given up by the tribe. Boles and Mitchell scored pins, while Ross won 15-12, Jordan Mitchell 4-3, and Fatz by forfeit for the final score.
South Stokes currently has five wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in the state in their respected weight divisions with Kaleb Mitchell, coming in at 11th in the 152lb class. Boles (145lb) and Fatz (160lb) are ranked second, Gonzales (132lb) third, Lawson (106lb) seventh, and Ross (170lb) ninth.
“Rankings are nice to look at, but the mat is where it starts,” Amos said. ““I love these kids and their effort. They come to practice and work hard every day. I would also like to thank our parents and administration for a successful day. We couldn’t do these tournaments without them.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.