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SHALLOTTE — Ten wrestlers from The Wilson Times readership area, including five from Fike High, each won their first two matches Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinals of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A East Regional.
Golden Demons Jah’mez Settles (106 pounds), Linton Holmes (138), Aaron Bancroft (145), Henry Escamilla (160) and Jayleen Bullock (195) all advanced along with Hunt’s Tanner Klutey (225), Southern Nash’s Zachary Coble (182), Jesus Raya (195) and Dakota Parker (285) and C.B. Aycock’s Devin Maldonado (113).
Bancroft, seeded No. 1 at 145 pounds, quickly pinned his first-round foe, Havelock’s Jamie Duffy, in 21 seconds before getting a forfeit win in the quarterfinals. Now 45-3, Bancroft will face No. 4 Harrison Tharrington of Franklinton in the semifinals. Looming at the bottom of the bracket is No. 2 seed Zain Tittle of South Brunswick, who has beaten Bancroft twice in three meetings this season.
Holmes (45-5) collected a pin and a decision as the second seed at 138 points while 106 No. 6 Jah’mez Settles, wrestling in a lower class than he has for most of the season, won a 5-4 decision against C.B. Aycock senior Austin Doyle in the quarterfinals.
Escamilla (32-9), the 160-pound No. 4 seed, won by fall in his opener and then squeezed out a 4-3 decision in the quarters.
Bullock, a freshman, rang up a pair of pins to move into the 195-pound semis with a 19-10 mark.
Southern Nash’s Raya pushed his record to an area-best 30-1 with a pair of pins at 195. Coble (35-8) won by fall in his opener and pulled out a 7-3 decision in the quarterfinals.
Parker (26-10), the sixth seed, earned his way to the 285 semifinals by pinning a pair of Big East foes. He stopped Fike’s Saulo Rodriguez in 5:17 in the first round and then pinned Hunt’s Latrell Ruffin, seeded third, in 4:45.
The Warriors’ Klutey, No. 3 at 220, remained unbeaten through 12 matches after narrowly escaping with a 4-3 decision in the first round and then pinning Southern Nash’s Pedro Vargas in 1:33 in the quarters.
Aycock’s Maldonado, seeded fourth at 113, rolled to 35-8 on the season with a technical fall win in his first match and a pin in his second.
The top four finishers in Saturday’s second day of action will advance to the NCHSAA championship tournament in Greensboro next weekend.