Team win

The Avery wrestling team shows off its medals and celebrates with a group photo after earning a victory at the Dekota Smith Invitational event at South Caldwell High School on Nov. 23.

SAWMILLS — Avery High School Wrestling picked up the momentum that it built at the close of the 2018-19 season that boasted a trio of state champions and 10 state placers, turning in a dominating performance on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Dekota Smith Invitational Tournament at South Caldwell High School.

Avery earned 178 team points and concluded the day with five champions and multiple placers, outlasting 13 other schools of mostly larger classifications to bring home the trophy.

Several Vikings earned gold medals for their performances during the day-long tournament.

At 120 pounds, Ethan Shell took top honors, as he won his championship match by a 12-2 major decision over Mooresville opponent Samson Sokolski.

In the 138-pound class, River Griffith started his season with an impressive performance, pinning St. Stephens opponent Evan Trossi in 39 seconds to win his bracket. Griffith was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

Teammate Lucas Andrews earned a tournament bracket win with a 14-10 decision in his championship match over Robbinsville’s Kyle Fink at the 195-pound weight class. Lucas’ brother, Levi Andrews, also won his bracket, earning a 11-4 decision victory in the championship match over West Wilkes opponent Dallas Rash at 220 pounds.

Zach Vance was also victorious in his bracket at the tournament, as he won by first-period fall over South Caldwell opponent Mason Spradling in the 285-pound weight class.

Multiple Avery wrestlers also earned podium finishes in Sawmills. Jonah Hayes finished as runner-up in the 132-pound weight class, falling by a narrow 8-7 decision over McDowell’s Tobias Finn. Freshman teammate Tristan Adams earned a third-place finish at 152 pounds by way of third-period pinfall in his match against junior opponent Garrison Fontaine of Statesville.

Dalton Towe placed fourth in the 160-pound weight class, earning a 10-2 major decision victory over McDowell’s Bruin Lytle in his opening match, as well as a win by second-period pin over West Iredell’s Omar Morris.

“The team wrestled well against a stacked field opponents including last year’s 4A and 3A returning state champion teams,” Avery Wrestling Head Coach Matthew Dunn said following the tournament. “There are some technical points that need to be fixed, but that is to be expected this early in the season. Though at times the technique appeared rusty the effort level and mindset were perfect. The kids drove to break opponents and constantly looked to score more points or to secure pins for the team.”

Avery returns to action on Nov. 27 with the North Henderson Knight Invitational at North Henderson High School, followed by a quad meet on Dec. 4 at North Wilkes.

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