Home Local Sports Martin qualifies for NCHSAA 4A state wrestling championship

Martin qualifies for NCHSAA 4A state wrestling championship

Senior Jaxson Martin (right) stands on the third-place podium at Saturday's 4A Mideast regional tournament. (Contributed photo)

FUQUAY-VARINA — A strong showing by the Richmond Raider wrestling team led to one senior wrestler qualifying for the state tournament.

On Saturday, Richmond and second-year head coach Andre’ Ellerbe sent eight wrestlers to compete in the NCHSAA 4A Mideast regional at Fuquay-Varina High School.

One of 26 teams participating, the Raiders secured a 16th-place finish with 38.5 points. 

Taking home the regional championship was Cary High School (159.5 points), followed by Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Hoke County High School (136.5 points).

Of the eight wrestlers representing the Raiders, only senior Jaxson Martin finished the day on the podium. He placed third overall in the 145-pound weight class and notched a team-high 14 points.

“I’m super proud of everybody. Everyone went out there and wrestled hard,” Ellerbe said. “The guys showed up and showed out. 

“We did finish in the middle of the pack, but for my second year, we showed great improvement. Jaxson qualified for states and we had a couple of guys just one win away from going.”

Also on the mat for Richmond were seniors Louis Fernandez (138-pounds), Naaman Perakis (152-pounds), Amir Martin (160-pounds) and Messiah Shaw (170-pounds).

The others were sophomore Jackson Hamilton (182-pounds), freshman Jordan Hamilton (195 pounds) and sophomore K’Mauri Morgan (220-pounds).

Morgan was the second leading points-getter, collecting 8.5 points in his weight class. Both Perakis and Shaw earned 7 points apiece and Fernandez had the team’s final 2 points.


Jaxson Martin entered the day with a 22-8 overall record and went 4-1 with two wins by decision, a pinfall and a sudden victory to clinch his spot in the 4A state championship match.

He started with a pair of one-point decisions over Avery Soular (1-0, Chapel Hill) and upsetting No. 2 seed Jace Rich (7-6, Southern Alamance). His loss was an 8-7 decision against Xavier Jones (Southeast Guilford) in the semifinals.

After a pin of Valerio Luftig (Riverside) with 1:16 left in the third period, Martin advanced to the third-place bout with No. 4 Thomas Taylor (Jack Britt). Martin earned an 8-6 victory in sudden death, earning two points on a takedown.

Morgan went 3-2 on the day and was eliminated in the consolation semis. He earned a 15-7 major decision against David Preis (Green Hope), pinned Justin Booker (Southern Alamance) and had a 17-2 technical fall in a win over Jeremiah Sansbury (Pine Forest).

Perakis dropped his first match of the day before battling back to a 3-2 record. His wins came in order, starting with a 17-11 decision against Sean McConley (South View). He followed that with pins over Mateo Gaddy (Southern Alamance) and Parker Thullner (Fuquay-Varina).

In his four matches, Shaw went 2-2. He began the tournament with a third-round pinfall against Josiah Moore (Green Hope). A loss in the quarterfinals saw Shaw pick up one more win, this one a second-round pinfall over Tristin Lewis-Kenner of Gray’s Creek.

Rounding out Richmond’s team scoring and wins at the tournament was Fernandez’s two points in the consolation bracket. Going 1-2 on the day, Fernandez stayed alive with a 14-6 major decision in his bout with Axel Ruiz-Paz (Riverside).

“Jaxson wrestled hard and he set up his offense by being the first one to attack,” Ellerbe commented. “He watched where he was on the mat and made sure he didn’t give up easy points. He had two good reversals.

“His top game was almost perfect, keeping guys down for 30 or 45 seconds during crunch time. Jaxson finished his moves and had one of his best finishes against (Taylor). He had a lot of improvement this season.”

Jaxson Martin will spend the rest of the week training alongside Hoke County wrestlers in preparation for the NCHSAA 4A state championship. The event will be held in Greensboro this weekend.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.