LEDGER – Several members of the Mitchell High School wrestling team finished in the top three this past week at the Western Highlands Conference Wrestling Tournament at Mitchell.
“We had our ups-and-downs,” said Ed Duncan, Mitchell head wrestling coach. “I’m generally pleased with our effort, but I’m disappointed we didn’t have any champions this year.”
Freshman Halley Wheeler earned a second-place finish in the 106-pound weight class, losing a 6-4 decision to Polk’s Tori Strickland in the championship bout. Wheeler received a bye in the first round and defeated Madison’s Harley Ramsey by fall in the semifinal match.
Senior Dylan Lowery earned a second-place finish in the 120-pound weight class. Lowery lost by fall to top-ranked Ethan Shell from Avery in the first-place match after defeating Madison’s Kyle Jamerson in the semifinal match.
“Halley was inches from winning first place and Dylan wrestled well against the No. 1 wrestler in the state in his weight class,” Duncan said. “It’s good to have that kind of competition at this point in the season. Samuel Shook performed well in the tournament. Overall I am pleased. The Western Highlands Conference is as tough this year as it’s ever been. I have seen a lot of improvement from our wrestlers.”
Senior Elijah Smith earned a second-place finish in the 126-pound weight class after losing by forfeit to Polk’s Preston Burnett in the first-place match. Smith received a bye in the quarterfinal bout and defeated Madison’s Cody Jamerson in the semifinal match by injury default.
A pair of Mitchell seniors finished in third place at the tournament. Seth Elsaesser won third place in the 138-pound weight class and Shook placed third in the 220-pound weight class.
Elsaesser won the quarterfinal match over Madison’s Gage Chandler before losing the Mountain Heritage’s Jesse Lopez in the semifinal match. He defeated Polk’s Aidan Riva in the consolation semifinal and beat Owen’s Cameron Moore in the third-place match.
Shook’s third-place finish came after a loss to Avery’s Levi Andrews in the 220-pound semifinal match, a bye in the consolation semifinals and a victory by decision over Mountain Heritage’s Yasir Banegas in the third-place match.
The Mountaineers finished fourth as a team with 109 points, behind first-place Avery (226 points), Madison (141 points) and Polk (123 points). Mountain Heritage finished fifth (108 points) and Owen finished sixth (94 points).
After hosting the Western Highlands Conference Tournament for the first time in several years this past week, Mitchell also hosted the first and second rounds of the 2019 Dual Team Wrestling State Championship Tuesday, Feb. 4, but results were not available at press time. The Mountaineers hosted No. 2-seed Swain County in the first round. The winner of Mitchell vs. Swain County match went on to face No. 1-seed East Wilkes in the second round.
The tournament culminates Saturday, Feb. 8, with the western and eastern regional champions meeting at the Greensboro Coliseum Fieldhouse for the State Championships.