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GREENSBORO — While all seven Fike High wrestlers competing in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A wrestling championship tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday afternoon made it to Saturday, only two kept their state championship dreams alive.
Golden Demons seniors Aaron Bancroft and Jahmez Settles each won their first two matches to reach Saturday’s semifinals round along with C.B. Aycock’s unbeaten senior duo of Christian Decatur and Tyler Hughes. Nine other area wrestlers are still in action in the consolation bracket. Matches will be held for third and fifth place. The championship semifinals will start at approximately noon once the consolation quarterfinals are complete. The Parade of Champions is set for 7 p.m., followed by the state championship finals matches, once the consolation bracket is done.
Bancroft had little trouble collecting his 48th and 49th wins without a loss as he stopped Eastern Guilford’s Isaiah Manning in an 18-3 technical fall in their 170-pound opener and then handed Enka’s Garrett Pugh tech fall by the same score in the quarterfinals. Bancroft, who became Fike’s first state champion last year in the 160-pound division, will face Fayetteville Cape Fear sophomore Jaden Paul (36-8) in the semifinals.
Settles, a senior, pinned Southern Durham’s Ashton O’Neal in 3 minutes, 12 seconds in their 106-pound opener before eking out a 6-4 decision over Aldo Hernandez of Montgomery Central. Settles (45-8), the East Regional champion, will take on Mideast champion Tyler Tracy (41-0) of Pittsboro Northwood in the semifinals.
Five other Fike wrestlers didn’t emerge unscathed after the first day but they will all be in action Saturday. Junior Jayleen Bullock, the Demons’ other regional champion along with Bancroft and Settles,won his opener by crafting a 16-3 major decision against Statesville’s Robert Shuford at 195 pounds. However, in the quarterfinals, Western Guilford senior Charles Swiggett, who finished third in the Midwest Regional, pinned Bullock at the 5:12 mark. Bullock, who lost for just the fourth time in 49 matches, was sent to the consolation quarterfinals where he will face St. Stephens sophomore Andre Britt, who was pinned by Hunt senior Chris Silva in the first round.
Silva (38-9) also was sent to the consolation quarters with a 12-4 major decision loss to Monroe Parkwood’s Amir Joseph. Silva will face Statesville’s Shuford (who lost to Bullock in the first round) on Saturday morning.
Also into the consolation quarters for Fike were freshman Barrett Klutey at 120 pounds, junior Vincent Page at 152, senior Garrett Weaver (138) and junior Patrick McCullen. Weaver and McCullen both lost their first matches but were victorious in their first consolation matches Friday. Klutey and Page were turned back in the quarterfinals.
Fike found itself in a tie with Central Cabarrus, each with 33 points, for second place behind Enka, which leads with 44 points. Aycock is in ninth place in the 72-team field with 25 points.
The Golden Falcons’ two unbeaten seniors — Decatur and Hughes — remained that way with a pair of convincing victories each. Decatur improved to 61-0 with a 19-4 tech fall win over Cox Mill’s Ethan Holandez in their 113-pound opener before hammering Asheville freshman Noah Tocaben in a 24-8 tech fall. Hughes (59-0) pinned Asheboro’s Luke Lambeth in 3:30 in their 152-pound opener but needed just 1:13 to dispose of Person County’s Dawson Thibodeau by fall in the quarterfinals.
Hughes, the East champion, draws Midwest king Oren Bost of East Rowan in Saturday’s semifinals while Decatur, who has won 152 straight matches, continues his quest for a third straight state title as he takes on Central Cabarrus freshman Jackson Baglio.
Both Canon Barrett (120) and Omar Tucker (132) won decisions in the first round for CBA but neither was able to move past the quarterfinals. Both are in action in the consolation quarters Saturday. Aycock junior Turner Bass lost both his 195-pound matches.
For Southern Nash, only junior 182-pounder Jadel Davis remains as he took a 12-6 decision from Western Guilford’s Aaron Berry in the first round before getting pinned by Charlotte Catholic’s Kurt Hayes in the quarters.
Firebirds sophomore Luke Coble lost twice at 170 pounds and junior Terrence Raspberry lost an 8-5 decision in the 220-pound opener and then exited with an 8-3 loss.