Stanly wrestlers vie for state titles in Greensboro this weekend

Published 1:02 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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The Greensboro Coliseum will be filled starting Thursday through Saturday with high school wrestlers looking to win titles at the 2020 NCHSAA individual wrestling state finals.

Several wrestlers from Stanly County schools finished in the top four in their respective weight classes and will compete at the event.

1A East Regionals
South Stanly

The Rebel Bulls had several wrestlers qualify for states, including Renfere Garcia (32-12), who won the 1A East Regional title at 132 pounds.

The South freshman had a bye in the first round, then posted back-to-back pinfall wins before winning in the championship finals with a 20-5 technical fall over Rosewood’s Braeden Reiss.

Michael Gabbard (41-13) also won a regional title for the Bulls at 138 pounds. Gabbard, a sophomore, posted three pinfall wins in four matchups, including a pin in 5:44 versus fellow Yadkin Valley Conference opponent Drew Shelton of Uwharrie Charter.

Trent Drake (27-6) gave South another regional title at 145 pounds. The junior got a bye in the first round then pinned his next three opponents, including Uwharrie Charter’s Grayson Roberts in 4:44.

Tony Rogers (35-7) finished in second place for the Bulls at 220 pounds, posting three pinfall wins before losing by pinfall in 2:57 to Sergio Saldana from Uwharrie Charter.

Jaquavius Caraway (45-17) finished in third place at 126 pounds, losing in the quarterfinals in a 3-2 decision. He responded with four wins in a row, including a 4-3 decision over Austin Kennedy of Uwharrie Charter in the third-place match.

Hunter Barrier (46-9) earned a spot in the state finals at 152 pounds by finishing in third. Barrier lost in the semifinals by pinfall, but responded in the consolation bracket with a pinfall win. He then won the third-place match in a 5-2 decision versus Neuse Charter’s Matthew Pelletier.

In the 1A’s heavyweight division, Khris Mayo (49-4) earned third place and will wrestle at the finals.

The senior, who got his 100th career win this season, lost in the semifinals by pinfall in 56 seconds to Ezekiel Jayne of East Carteret, but rallied for two wins in the consolation round. Mayo won by technical fall over Albemarle’s Unique Carvalho (25-10) 16-1. Both wrestlers qualified for the finals.


The Bulldogs will also have several wrestlers competing in Greensboro, including senior Adrian Little, the 1A’s runner-up last season at 195 pounds.

Little (28-4), ranked among the top wrestlers in the state, posted a win over North Stanly’s Meliek Bryant by pinfall in the quarterfinals, then earned a 17-2 technical fall in the semifinals versus Chatham Central’s Jamie Gerli-Amador. In the finals, Little pinned Jordan Mitchell of South Stokes in 1:16.

Freshman Horveli Rodriquez (13-21) earned third place at 106 pounds, falling in the quarterfinals but rallying for three straight wins, including a pinfall in 1:29 in the consolation finals against Trevor Johnson of Granville Central.

Ricardo Bustos (29-9) also took third place, losing by pinfall in the semifinals but rallying to earn back-to-back victories, including a pinfall in 3:08 versus Rosewood’s William Kimball.

At 220 pounds, Naquian Carpenter took third place. Carpenter lost in the first round in a 10-3 decision but won his next five matches, including a 1:39 pinfall versus Pender’s Da’Rjon Smith.

North Stanly

The Comets had one wrestler qualify for the state finals as Bryant bounced back from a loss to Little to earn third place.

Bryant (21-11) earned four straight wins by pinfall, including a 42-second win versus Louisburg’s Stephen Falkner in the third-place match.

2A Midwest Regionals

West Stanly had one wrestler qualify for the state finals, Andrew Becker (44-11), in the 182-pound class.

Becker, a junior. lost in the first round but bounced back in the consolation bracket with three wins by decision to reach the third-place match, which he won by forfeit.

Korbin McNeill, who wrapped up his final season at West with 130 career wins, came up just short of a trip to the state finals. He suffered a torn meniscus this season after qualifying for the states the past two seasons.

McNeill lost a 6-5 decision in the quarterfinals at 138 pound,s then responded with a 10-5 decision in the second round of the consolation bracket. The senior lost in the next round by majority decision to Mount Pleasant’s Shane Reigel.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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