By AMBLE SMOKER
ONE FEATHER STAFF
GREENSBORO – Five tribal members from Cherokee, Swain and Robbinsville High Schools traveled to Greensboro to participate in the NCHSAA tournament on Feb. 21-22 with several individuals walking away with medals.
Spencer McCoy, Swain, took first place in 195lbs, Nathan Craig, Robbinsville, took third in 170lbs, Levi Swearengin, Cherokee, took fourth in 126lbs, Russell Bigmeat, Swain, took fourth in 138lbs, and Chris Miller, Swain, represented the 126lbs.
In a rematch from the close showing a week prior during the finals of the 1-A western regionals tournament, McCoy (29-0) collected his second state championship by pinning Avery County’s Ryan Sheppard at the 1:24 mark in the third round.
McCoy seized control of the bout early by racking up take down points and jumping out to a 10-2 lead going into the third round. However, it was during the third and final round when McCoy was in the down position, down blocked on a shot by Sheppard, kept ahold of his arm and whipped Sheppard over to put McCoy in position to gain the pin.
“It was just one of those positions where he’s pretty familiar with it, so he knew what to do. By doing so, he secured himself a second state championship,” said Swain coach Adam Jaimez.
McCoy finished out his illustrious junior season undefeated. This was his second championship title in two years as he won his first as a sophomore with Robbinsville in 2013. He also placed fourth as a freshman in 2012.
Coach Jaimez noted, “We are very proud of him, he’s very deserving. We’re fortunate to have him, he’s a hard worker and everything’s that he’s gotten this year is well earned.”
Swearengin was able to overcome a second round loss to finish fourthin the tournament. He took the victory in convincing fashion during the quarterfinals as he pinned Grant Plyler from Albemarle at the 1:03 mark of the second round. In the second round, Swearengin came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. At one point in the match, he had the eventual winner of the tournament, James Dagget, on his back with a near fall. However, the effects of a head cold became too great during the second round as Dagget was able to secure the win with a pin.
Cherokee coach Will Lambert stated, “He came in and did a real good job. He had the competitor who actually won the championship on his back in the first period. We were really excited about that, but he eventually ran out of gas.”
Swearingen won another nail bitter in the semi-finals of the consolation match by pinning Marlon Macintyre of Pamlico, but he ultimately finished fourth with a loss to Rosman’s Tanner Whitman.
Full results of the five EBCI wrestlers are as follows:
126 – Levi Swearengin (Cherokee) pinned (Grant Plyler (Albemarle) at 3:03
126 – James Dagget (Chatham Central) pinned Levi Swearengin (Cherokee) at 4:34
126 – Levi Swearengin (Cherokee) pinned Marlon Macintyre (Pamlico) at 1:34
126 – Tanner Whitman (Rosman) defeated Levi Swearengin (Cherokee) by a score of 6-5
126 – James Dagget (Chatham Central) pinned Chris Miller (Swain) at 3:22
126 – Grant Plyler (Albemarle) pinned Chris Miller (Swain) at 2:54
138 – Russell Bigmeat (Swain) defeated Arie Freeman (Granville Central) by decision 15-5
138 – Chris Jaeger (Chatham Central) defeated Russell Bigmeat 22-7 by TF
138 – Russell Bigmeat (Swain) defeated Kittipong Phothisane by decision 7-1
138 – Nicholas Trego (Bishop McGuinness) defeated Russell Bigmeat by decision 13-7
170 – Nathan Craig (Robbinsville) defeated Connor Hough (Pamlico Co.) by decision 12-7
170 –Josh Drew (Rosewood) defeated Nathan Craig (Robbinsville) by decision 6-5
170 – Nathan Craig (Robbinsville) pinned Landon Mumford (Mt. Airy) at 3:03
170 – Nathan Craig (Robbinsville) defeated Matthew Chilton (East Carteret) by decision 11-7
195 – Spencer McCoy pinned Benjamin Ammons at 2:49
195 – Spencer McCoy defeated Creed Lovin by decision 8-1
195 – Spencer McCoy pinned Ryan Sheppard at 4:36
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