Sunday, 10 February 2019 23:40

Standridge the lone Raider wrestler heading to states; handful of Richmond teammates just miss out

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Richmond's Skylar Standridge (yellow) was the lone Raider to wrestle his way the the state tournament, going 3-2 at regionals this weekend. Richmond's Skylar Standridge (yellow) was the lone Raider to wrestle his way the the state tournament, going 3-2 at regionals this weekend. Contributed photo by Kami Jenkins.

MOCKSVILLE, N.C. — Despite starting his senior wrestling season late because of an extended run in the football playoffs, and battling a nagging ankle injury, senior Skylar Standridge emerged successful during the 4A Midwest regional wrestling tournament over the weekend at Davie County High School.

The Richmond Senior High School Raider wrestled his way to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s state tournament, punching his ticket thanks to a fourth-place finish in the 220-pound weight class. Standridge was the only Raider to qualify, with a handful of his teammates just missing out.

“There was a big improvement over last year’s team and this year’s,” head coach Earl Nicholson commented. “We had nine guys still wrestling around lunchtime of the second day, with three guys one match away from states, and Skylar the only one making it.

“Skylar hasn’t been able to run because of his ankle, but he’s been jump roping and doing alternate conditioning workouts,” he added. “It was working for him, because he had two overtime matches and his conditioning looked fine. About halfway through, he realized he could make it to states and he turned it up and wrestled hard.”

Standridge improved his overall record to 14-6 by collecting three wins in his five regional matches. Earning a team-high 11 points during the two-day event for Richmond, he opened by pinning Silas Murphy (High Point Central High School) in 1:32.

He also won his first overtime match in the quarterfinals round, scoring the first point against RJ Reynolds High School’s Terrell Walker in the sudden death one-minute extra period for a 4-3 victory.

Up next in the 220-pound semifinals was Northwest Guilford High School’s Stephen Vega (34-2), and he edged Standridge in a 1-0 decision, sending the Raider to the consolation bracket. Vega and the Vikings won the 2019 dual team state championship last weekend.

In the consolation semis, Standridge went to overtime against Trey Smith (Porter Ridge High School), escaping with a 3-1 decision to put him in the third-place match.

Standridge would fall to fellow Sandhills Athletic Conference wrestler Aidan Alston (Pinecrest High School) in that match by way of a 3-0 decision. But the fourth-place overall placement was enough to send him to Greensboro later this week for the state tournament.

As a team, the Raiders would place 11th overall out of 19 teams with 41.5 points. Northwest Guilford topped the team results with 168.5 points, followed by Davie County (166.5 points) and Ragsdale High School (155 points). Nicholson noted it was a “big step up” from last year’s 17th place finish.

Just missing out on the state tournament were Richmond juniors Joseph Nicholson (113-pound) and Austin Gallops (152-pound). Each wrestler needed just one more win to secure their spot.

Four other Raiders put on solid performances and ended two wins shy. They were freshman Andres Sanchez (106-pound), sophomore Bryant Coll (126-pound), junior Steven Morales (132-pound) and freshman Gabe Altman (196-pound).

Both Nicolson and Gallops went 3-2 in the tournament, but found themselves in the consolation brackets. Nicholson (48-5) lost his championship bracket opener by technical fall (15-0) to West Forsyth’s Mike Dalton, before winning three of his four consolation matches (two decisions and one pin).

Gallops (37-9) defeated Kaylin Foust (Hickory Ridge High School) by 6-2 decision before losing to Michael Quinones (East Forsyth High School) 19-7 in a major decision. He went 2-1 in the consolation bracket.

Nicholson was eliminated in his win-or-go-home match against JT Richards (Davie County) in the consolation semis, as Gallops also fell in the same round to Joseph Coble (Porter Ridge). Both Richmond wrestlers finished in fifth place in their respective weight class.

“Austin had a really good situation, and he was close in the score to the guy he lost to,” Coach Nicholson said. “But he just slipped and the other guy (Coble) was able to pin him.

“Joey had to fight through a lot of adversity,” he continued. “His first bout was against probably the No. 1 wrestler in the state (Dalton). Joey was a two seed, other guy was 15 seed, but he just became eligible to wrestle and he didn’t have a record.

Coach Nicholson explained that Joseph Nicholson “had to win four matches in a row” on Saturday, and that wrestling that many times was taxing on his 113-pounder’s body. He closed by saying he was “really proud” of Nicholson and Gallops “for fighting back and giving themselves a shot.”

Altman, Coll, Morales and Sanchez would all go 2-2 in their matches, and finish seventh overall in their weight class. Altman received a consolation quarterfinals bye before pinning Rocky River High School’s Sherif Hydara with a cradle in the third round of the consolation bracket.

Coll also had a bye in the same round as Altman, and picked up a pin over Ragsdale’s Logan Smith in the next round. Morales opened the tournament with a tech fall win (16-0) against Kaden Ladd (Ronald Reagan High School), and added a pin over Syler Weber (Porter Ridge).

Sanchez had a bye in the championship round opener and earned his second win of the weekend with a 13-3 major decision over familiar foe Keldon Clark (Scotland High School).

“The guys this year looked like they belonged at the regional tournament,” Earl Nicholson concluded. “Even in the losses they were competing and fought hard. The SAC showed well at the regionals this year and I’m proud of all the guys.”

Standridge’s bid for a state title will start Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum. The 4A state tournament will begin at 2:30 p.m., and Standridge is expected to wrestle around 4 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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