Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
GREENSBORO — For the second time in three seasons, there will be a Fike High wrestler in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A championship match.
Golden Demons junior Aaron Bancroft will attempt to become the school’s first state champion Saturday in the 3-A 160-pound class after winning both his matches somewhat handily Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“I can’t say it was breeze but I guess you could say it was a little easier than I thought it would be,” Bancroft said in a telephone interview Friday night.
Bancroft, the East Regional champion and overall No. 1 seed, pinned Eden Morehead’s Tyler Horton in 2 minutes, 36 seconds in the quarterfinals before earning his first state championship appearance with a 9-1 major decision over Denton Dicarlo, the Midwest Regional champion from Weddington.
Bancroft, now 51-1, will face West champion Kameron Miller of Gastonia Forestview in Saturday’s 160-pound final. Miller (50-1) pulled out a 3-2 decision in what could be considered an upset of Cameron Union Pines’ Elijah Martin, who had won 61 of his 62 matches going into the semifinals.
“My jaw dropped when I saw that Elijah lost the match,” said Bancroft, who professed to know not that much about Miller.
“All I know is that he made it to the finals of states, that says a lot right there,” Bancroft assured.
Rae'Sae Settles, the older brother of current Fike junior Jahmez Settles, lost a 9-4 decision in the 132-pound championship match at the 2017 NCHSAA 3-A tournament. The elder Settles was the first Fike wrestler to reach a state final.
While Bancroft is the only one of the 12 wrestlers from The Wilson Times readership area to have a shot at a state title, three others, including his Fike teammates Jahmez Settles and Joseph Speight, are still alive in the tournament.
Settles lost his 106-pound quarterfinals match to Jake Cauble of Piedmont, sending him to the consolation bracket. But the Fike junior, now 23-4, posted a 13-7 decision over Jalen Mills of Northern Durham to advance to Saturday against Southern Guilford’s Dylan Muir, the Mideast champion.
Speight also survived in the 182-pound division after losing 5-1 to Mason Ingram of Kannapolis Brown in the quarters. Speight then claimed a 5-2 win over Thomas Larison of Cuthbertson in an elimination match. He will take on North Brunswick’s Bryan Aragao Saturday morning and, if Speight (49-6) wins, gets a rematch with Micah Dixon of West Carteret in the consolation semifinals. Dixon, the East champion, defeated Speight 4-1 in the regional semifinals.
Bancroft, for one, was delighted that Settles and Speight will soldier on in the tournament.
“It makes me very happy to see that,” he said.
C.B. Aycock junior Tyler Hughes, the East champion, reached the 152-pound semifinals with a pin of West Caldwell’s Freddy Guardiola in the quarterfinals. But Hughes was stopped in the quarterfinals by Northern Durham’s Donald Cates, the Mideast champion, in an 8-3 decision.
Hughes, now 54-4, moved into the consolation semifinals, where he awaits the winner of an elimination match between River Carroll of Swansboro and Chandler Jordan of North Iredell.
Elsewhere the 3-A bracket, Fike’s Vincent Page and Saulo Rodriguez were eliminated after losing their first consolation matches Friday. Also going 0-2 in the tournament were Southern Nash’s Johnathan Salazar and the C.B. Aycock trio of Canon Barrett, Omar Tucker and Turner Bass.
In the 2-A championships, also at the Coliseum, SouthWest Edgecombe’s Kedar Darden and Greene Central’s Jared Fields both exited after losing their first consolation matches.