It has been a successful start to 2022 for Orange wrestling.
After beating Northwood to all but sew up the Central Carolina Conference championship, the Panthers captured the Quentin Crosby Tournament at Dudley High School in Greensboro on Saturday.
Four Panthers captured individual championships as Orange won its second team tournament title of the season. The Panthers finished with 148.5 points. Greensboro Page finished second at 101 points.
It was another impressive outing for 220 pounder Elijah Acosta, who captured his second tournament championship this year. Acosta, won rolled to the Jim King/Orange Invitational Championship last month, earned three pins en route to the title in Greensboro. In the championship match, Acosta defeated Jaquaid Owens of Dudley 5-2. Owens was the only grappler to go the distance with Acosta all day. Acosta opened by pinning Braylon Clark of Southwestern Guilford in 5:30. In the quarterfinals, Acosta pinned Noel Jennings of Eastern Alamance in 1:11. Acosta reached the finals after he pined Carter Bland of Southern Guilford in 2:50.
Acosta finished third in the Tiger Holiday Classic at Chapel Hill High School on December 22. He defeated Asheboro’s Eduardo Soto-Canas 8-3 in the consolation final.
Orange’s Dillon Heffernan finished the Tiger Holiday Classic in 2nd place. In Greensboro, he captured the championship at 126 pounds, edging Allen Cohen of Eden Morehead 6-5 in the championship bout. It was the only competitive match of the day for Heffernan. In the semifinals, he pinned Eastern Alamance’s Mason Taner in 4:43. Heffernan had a 16-3 lead at the time of the pin. In the opening round, Heffernan had a technical fall over R.J. Reynolds Hamzah Mahmoud 16-0. Heffernan opened the season 15-5 with ten pins.
After losing 2-1 in the 195 pound championship match at the Tiger Holiday Invitational, Acoya Isley won the 195 title in Greensboro with three pins in three matches, none of which went beyond the first period. Isley pinned Christian Brown of Page in 1:09 for the championship. Isley pinned Dudley’s Collin Morehead in 33 seconds. In the opening round, Isley finished off Thomas Tippeconnie of R.J. Reynolds in 21 seconds.
It was the second individual championship of the year for Isley. He won the 195 title at the JKO Invitational.
Senior Brendon Worsham, who qualified for the 3A State Championships after a runner-up finish in the Mideast Regionals, won the 182 pound championship. Worsham defeated Lexington’s Chris Cartrette 9-1. In the semifinals, Worsham pinned Edwin Cantu of Morehead in 52 seconds. It was Worsham’s first tournament championship of the season. To open the season, Worsham won 17 of his first 22 matches with eleven pins.
Talan Pearley had his best-ever showing in a tournament, finishing 3rd at 138 pounds. After dropping his opening round match, Pearly pinned Eastern Alamance’s Jahzion Patterson in 1:18. In the consolation final, Pearley pinned Lexington’s Michael Mays in 54 seconds.
At 132 pounds, Orange’s Jared Hutchins finished third. Hutchins opened with a pin of Shawn Bass of Dudley in 1:56. Ivan Benitez pinned Hutchins in 2:33. In the consolation bracket, Hutchins pinned R.J. Reynolds Amarr Lumpkins in 2:52. Hutchins clinched third place with a 10-4 win over Donovan Edwards of Southwestern Guilford.
Orange’s Kale Womble finished 3rd at 113 pounds. In the third place match, Womble pinned Lexington’s Andres Couto in 4:25.
At 120 pounds, Braden Crawford finished 3rd. After losing in the opening round, Crawford won three straight matches in the consolation round. He pinned Page’s Omari Williams in 2:50. In the consolation semifinals, Crawford defeated Tucker Rakes in 4:12. In the consolation final, Crawford defeated Lexington’s Jason Allen 12-2.
Last Thursday, Orange defeated Northwood 43-24 in Pittsboro to improve to 5-0 in the Central Carolina Conference. The Panthers have clinched a share of the conference championship. They’re scheduled to host Eastern Alamance on January 19 in Hillsborough. If the Panthers win, they take the overall conference championship.