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Fike High seniors Joseph Speight and Saulo Rodriguez and three teammates will begin their own vision quests Thursday as the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A wrestling championships begin at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Golden Demons junior Aaron Bancroft, the 3-A East Regional champion, is the No. 1 seed at in the 160-pound weight class with a 48-1 mark. His only loss was a 7-5 decision to Jaden Bullock of Oscar Smith High (Chesapeake, Virginia) in the finals of the WRAL Invitational tournament in Raleigh in December.
Also making the trip to Greensboro are Fike junior Jahmez Settles and sophomore Vincent Page. Rodriguez is making his second straight trip to the state tournament — not first as was incorrectly reported in stories in the Times earlier this week — while Speight, Settles and Page are making their first appearances at the state tournament.
Speight and Rodriguez, both seniors, finished third in the regional at 182 and 285 pounds, respectively, while Settles was third at 106 pounds and Page was fourth at 145.
Bancroft, who will oppose Southwest Guilford’s Terrell Dixon in the first round, has some unfinished business in Greensboro. As the top seed and East champion at 145 pounds last year, Bancroft was upset in his first match and, after winning his first match in the consolation bracket, exited with an ultimate tiebreaker loss to Deondra James of Clayton to end his season 49-5.
As a freshman in 2017, Bancroft lost in the 145-pound semifinals and finished fifth in the state tournament with a 44-6 record.
Speight (47-5) lost a 3-1 decision to eventual regional champion Micah Dixon of West Carteret in the 185-pound semis before claiming his next two matches to finish third. He will face Mideast runner-up Kevin Pate of Fayetteville Cape Fear in the first round Thursday.
Rodriguez (38-10) will take on Mideast No. 2 Garrett Crockett of Hope Mills Gray’s Creek in the first round.
Settles (21-3) will face West runner-up Lazaro Vasquez of North Henderson in the 106 first round while Page drew West champion Spencer Leonhardt of Morganton Freedom in their 145 opener.
C.B. Aycock junior Tyler Hughes returned from an injury-shortened sophomore campaign to claim his second 3-A East Regional title, winning the 152-pound division Saturday at Cleveland High. Hughes (52-3) leads a group of four Golden Falcons to earn state tournament berths.
He will be joined by junior Canon Barrett (34-17) at 120 pounds, sophomore Omar Tucker (26-13) at 138 pounds and sophomore Turner Bass (35-17) at 195 pounds.
Junior Johnathan Salazar of Southern Nash, No. 4 from the East, takes a 29-12 mark into his 113-pound first-round match against Mideast champion Diego Jimenez of Roxboro Person.
In state 2-A tournament first-round matches, SouthWest Edgecombe junior Kedar Darden (22-2), the East runner-up at 182 pounds, will face West No. 3 Cole Clark of Newton-Conover while Greene Central senior Jared Fields (38-4), No. 2 from the East at 170 pounds, takes on Midwest No. 3 Garrett Overbay of Mount Pilot.