Sunday, 16 February 2020 20:46

Gallops, Nicholson qualify for states following 4th-place finish at regionals

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Senior Joey Nicholson (right) took fourth place in the 120-pound weight class at regionals. Senior Joey Nicholson (right) took fourth place in the 120-pound weight class at regionals. Contributed photo.

JAMESTOWN — A pair of Richmond Senior High School wrestlers will make their first state championship appearance later this week.

Seniors Austin Gallops (160-pound division) and Joey Nicholson (120-pound division) both earned a fourth-place finish in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A Midwest regional tournament at Ragsdale High School over the weekend.

The two-day event saw both Raiders collect a 3-2 overall record, with Gallops earning two pinfall victories and Nicholson collecting one. They were one win away from claiming a third-place finish.

Gallops would get his Friday started with back-to-back pins in the opening and quarterfinal rounds. He began with a pin over John Cupp of Porter Ridge High School in 1:13 and followed with a second-round pin over Joseph Ross of East Forsyth High School, who was the No. 4 seed in the region.

Nicholson also started 2-0 to advance to the semifinal round of the championship bracket. Up first, Nicholson pinned Luke Larkins of Reagan High School in 1:45 and went on to defeat the No. 5 seed Adam Szewczyk (Davie County High School) in a 5-3 decision.

Saturday’s tournament saw Gallops and Nicholson drop their first respective matches to go into the consolation bracket. Gallops faced Sandhills Athletic Conference foe Hunter Hillis from Pinecrest High School, losing by pinfall in the second round. Hillis had defeated Gallops twice in the regular season.

Austin Gallops (right) stands on the podium following his fourth-place finish at regionals.

Nicholson’s loss came at the work of No. 1 seed James Joplin (Northwest Guilford High School), a 15-0 technical fall. Last season, Joplin was a state runner-up and finished third in the state in 2018.

The two Raiders responded with a win in the consolation semifinals, as Gallops defeated Kaylin Foust of Hickory Ridge High School in a 4-2 tiebreaker decision. Nicholson worked three rounds to defeat Pinecrest’s Riley Merchant 3-2.

With third-place hardware on the line, Nicholson met Szewczyk for the second time. Head coach Earl Nicholson noted that his son lost the match by injury default. Gallops lost to Reece Rader of Reagan in a sudden victory overtime decision.

Now Gallops and Nicholson will look to close their high school wrestling careers with their first respective appearances at the NCHSAA 4A state championship tournament. 

The duo will return to the mat on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Kyle Pillar

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

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