Hawkins, Ramirez, Homsey, Alston Take Titles as Orange Wins JKO; McLeod Places for CRHS

Updated: December 3, 2017

After being led by the same head coach for 29 years, one would think a change in command would bring a change in philosophies or atmosphere.

Spenser Poteat is now the head coach of the Orange wrestling team, replacing his longtime mentor Bobby Shriner, who retired in May. Yet ask any Orange wrestler if there’s a difference in attitude around the famed Panther Wrestling room, and they’ll say the same thing: no.

So far, certainly the success hasn’t changed.

For the 3rd year in a row, Orange captured the Jim King Invitational Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at Jim King Gymnasium. The Panthers captured 259 points to win the two-day event for the eighth time in its 37-year history Cary, who has won the JKO 22 times, finished second with 239 points. Leesville Road finsihed third with 144 points. Northern Durham, which figures to be Orange’s biggest challenger in the Big 8 Conference, came in fourth with 138 points.

Cedar Ridge, behind a strong 4th place finish by Darius McLeod at 126 pounds, came in 18th with 39 points.

Four Panthers won individual championships. Senior Bailey Hawkins captured his first JKO Championship with a 4-0 decision over Cary’s Cymek Shaw. Hawkins, who finished 2nd in the JKO at 132 last year, scored two pins in route to the semifinals, where he defeated McKray Monday of Southern Alamance.

After coming in third last year, Orange senior heavyweight (and Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion) Daylan Alston scored four pins to win his first JKO Championship. In the first of what will likely be several meetings this year, Alston pinned Northern Durham’s Tyric Swennie in 5:33 for the championship. That was the only match where Alston was stretched beyond the first period. On Friday, he pinned Burlington Williams Bryce Stewart in 1:49, then finished off Bartlett Yancey’s Josh Stewart in :19. On Saturday morning. Alston pinned Person’s Noah Harris in :34 to advance to the finals.

Alston is 9-0 so far this season.

One week after capturing his 100th career victory, Josiah Ramirez won his 2nd consecutive JKO Championship, this time at 182 (last year, Ramirez wrestled at 170). Ramirez scored a major decision over Cary’s Nick Straight 14-4 in the finals. In the semifinals, Ramirez grinded out a 3-1 decision over Cedar Ridge’s Colin Davis. Ramirez started the tournament with consecutive pins over Northwood’s William Lake (in :15) and Corinth Holders Cameron Carroll (:27).

Cedar Ridge’s Davis advanced to the semifinals by pinning Middle Creek’s Jaxson Chopp in :31. He started by pinning Southern Durham’s Jamar Blank in 2:24. Davis finished 6th at 182.

Braden Homsey won his first JKO Championship at 195. Homsey, who lost in the opening round last year to Northwood’s Hunter Queen, scored a technical fall on Millbrook’s Ben Williard 20-5 in the finals. Homsey was dominant throughout the tournament, getting a major decision in the semifnals over Cary’s Dontay Turner 12-2. Homsey pinned Northwood’s Hsernay Day in :46 and opened the tournament with a pin of Person’s Zakery Lieske in :30.

Two other Panther grapplers finished 2nd. At 113, Mitchell Askew lost in the championship match to Cary’s Kobe Early 13-2. Askes, who also had a runner-up finish at 106 in 2016, defeated Bartlett Yancey’s Jacob Wright 8-6 in the semifinals.

In the 160 Championship match, Donald Cates of Northern Durham defeated Orange’s Avery Jenkins 10-3.

Gavin Wiggins finished 3rd for Orange at 126 with a 7-2 victory over McLeod. Orange’s Trey Jones came in 3rd at 170 with a pinfall of Person’s Genuine Morris in :55.

At 220, Jake McBrook came in 5th after a 4-2 decision over Southern Durham’s Xavier McGhee. Orange’s Luke Riley, in his first JKO, placed sixth at 132.



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