Wickham Duals debuts Saturday

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Mike Wickham might not be excited to know his name is on it but he would be happy that his creation, the Demon Duals, will take place for a fifth year.

Three mats will be in use in the Fike High gym, starting at 9:30 a.m., as teams from Hunt, Southern Nash, C.B. Aycock, Washington, North Pitt, West Johnston and Roanoke Rapids will join the Golden Demons on Saturday for the newly named Wickham Duals.

Admission to the event is $10 and is good for all day.

Wickham, the Fike wrestling coach who succumbed to cancer in January, started the early season event in 2014 as a temporary replacement for the County Vs. County Challenge, which Wickham also started. While the County Vs. County Challenge came back the following year, Demon Duals didn’t go away and it won’t, thanks to current Fike head coach Bradley Watson.

Watson said he wanted to honor Wickham’s memory by continuing the event as well as renaming it in memory of Wickham, a beloved coach who poured himself into the sport and his wrestlers.

Watson has added a special fundraiser that will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Wickham’s name. Each team will nominate either a coach or wrestler. Jars for each team will be set out for donations and, either at or near the end of the match, the money will be counted. The representative of the team that raises the most money will be the proud bearer of a freshly shaved head, with the tonsorial duty performed right there in the gym.

Watson said he had thought about doing the fundraiser shortly after Wickham’s death in the middle of last season. But he started to have second thoughts this season until his wife, Ashley, convinced him otherwise.

“I wasn’t going to do it but my wife said I should,” Watson said. “We all need to listen to our wives!”

Fike launched its wrestling season Thursday at a quad match at Washington. The Demons defeated the host Pam Pack 48-34 and flattened Farmville Central 54-12 before losing a tight one, 42-39, to D.H. Conley. Fike forfeited four weight classes in the loss to the Vikings, who only lost to Washington.

Winning all three of their matches each for the Demons were Joseph Speight, Aaron Bancroft, Saulo Rodriguez, Jayleen Bullock, Vincent Page, Zametrie Bagley and Garrett Weaver. Bullock, Rodriguez and Weaver collected three pins while Page won twice by fall and one by major decision. Bagley pinned two foes and claimed a decision over a third. Bancroft and Speight had two wins by fall each and one by forfeit.