Prep Wrestling: Thomasville advances to quarterfinals
In wrestling, a loss can sometimes translate into a win.
During Tuesday’s first round of the 2-A dual team state tournament, Thomasville suffered two losses in the 195 pound and heavyweight classifications. But they were decision losses, meaning there would be less points going up on the scoreboard for the other side. That, combined with two crucial pins by Jason Boutsady (113) and Brett Hokenson (138), led to a grueling 35-26 victory for the Bulldogs over favored North Surry. THS advanced to the second round match moments after, coasting to a 46-28 win over Wheatmore that moves them to Thursday’s quarterfinals at Newton-Conover.
“The biggest key by far was not getting pinned at 195 and heavyweight,” said Thomasville coach Richard Herman. “When they only came away with seven points instead of 12 right there, I knew we were in good shape. North Surry is a really good team and by them not getting pins there, that hurt them.”
The Greyhounds struck first with Austin Collins (152) nabbing a pin, but Evan Makupson and Aaron Reeves won with decisions to hand the Bulldogs their first lead.
Gabe Brockett (182) kept the momentum going with a second period pin to push the lead to 13-6, setting up a pivotal stretch of matches for North.
Levi Slate racked up a 15-6 major decision over Keith Clemmons at 195, but a loss on points was much bigger than taking a pin. The THS freshman was able to keep his back off the mat against the Greyhound senior that has 40 wins this season.
North regained the lead at 220 with a pin, setting up the second biggest challenge the Bulldogs would face. Heavyweight Tequan Williams failed to score, but his effort did not go unnoticed. He, too, kept the loss at a minimum, falling 3-0 on points to keep the score close at 19-13.
The match shifted gears to the little guys where 106-pound Hiygee Martin earned a 9-1 major decision. Boutsady backed that up with a pin of Jacob Humphries with one second left in the first period that fired up the team and fans.
Austin McMillian tied the score at 23-all with a major decision, but Tay Dupree (126) — the all-time wins holder at THS — battled it out with Tristen Brannock and escaped with a 5-4 decision, sending the lead back out to three.
Once more the Greyhounds tied it up. Austin Rozier won over Corbin Wilson at 132, leaving two matches to decide a winner.
Hokenson — a senior — was in a struggle with Caleb Lowe in a 1-1 deadlock after one period. It remained that way until late in the second period when Hokenson whipped around and put Lowe in trouble. Hokenson never let up, eventually getting the ref to smack the mat to indicate a pin.
That took a lot of pressure off of Luke Williams (145), who had little trouble in racking up a 7-1 victory.
“Honestly, I do not remember the move,” said Hokenson. “I am just so excited right now I am speechless. I am just here to help my team win. I want to make this last year memorable, so my mindset was to go out there and get us one step closer to a state championship.”
Herman was impressed by his senior.
“He started off wrestling pretty bad, but he settled his nerves down and wrestled like a champion.”
Thomasville faced Wheatmore in the second round and had little to worry about. The Bulldogs clawed the Warriors 46-28, with 24 of the WHS points coming on THS forfeits.
“To beat those two teams tonight is big,” said Herman. “I cannot say enough about these kids and coaches. This is a proud moment for this school.”
Thomasville will face Newton-Conover in the first match Thursday, with the winner taking on the Piedmont-Owen victor for a spot in the state championship.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or email@example.com.