Bartlett Yancey High School senior Justin Guy won three matches at the NCHSAA 2A state championships, held Thursday through Saturday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. Guy, Bartlett Yancey's star in the 160-pound weight class, placed second in the state tournament, falling just short in the state championship match.
Guy made his way through three rounds of victories on Thursday and Friday to earn his place in the “Parade of Champions,” the popular annual celebration of the state of North Carolina’s top wrestlers who battled it out for individual state titles.
Guy, the Mid-State Conference and Mid-East Regional champion in the 160-pound weight class, moved into the state quarterfinals with a convincing win over Colton Sullivan of Croatan (40-16) Thursday night in the opening round at states.
Guy was in total control throughout his matchup with Sullivan. The Buccaneer senior grabbed Sullivan’s right leg and earned an early takedown for a 2-0 led, but Sullivan managed to get a one-point escape, making the score 2-1.
It set the tone for the whole match, as Guy would continuously take Sullivan down, and Sullivan would get out for a one-point escape, only to be taken down again. Guy picked up a fourth two-point takedown for an 8-3 lead, and then after another Sullivan escape and failed effort at a shoot, Guy grabbed his leg for yet another takedown and a 10-4 advantage.
When it was all said and done, Guy picked up eight two-point takedowns, while Sullivan managed six escapes. But after piling on three more takedowns in the final 1:15 of the second period, Guy picked up a 16-6 major decision win.
In the quarterfinals, Guy (49-4) took on Quinn Walker of North Surry (37-3). The two wrestlers felt each other out in the opening period, going scoreless into the second period. Guy took the lead with an escape from bottom position to start the second period, and then he got a huge takedown for a 3-0 lead. Quinn escaped for one point, and the score was 3-1 going into the third period.
With the score 3-2 midway through the final frame, Guy came up with a critical takedown with 1:12 left, which gave him a 5-2 lead. Quinn managed another escape for a 5-3 score, but Guy once again managed not to be taken down himself. Guy got two more points in the closing seconds for a 7-3 victory, moving him into the state semifinals.
In the final four, Guy (50-4) took on Gaw Jones (31-10) of Southwest Onslow. Jones was a big, crafty tactician who had won a pair of close decisions to make his way to the semifinals.
Guy and Jones circled one another in the first minute, seeking an advantage. Guy grabbed Jones’ right leg and scored a two-point takedown in the second minute of the first period, only for Jones to escape.
With the score 2-1 going into the second period, the two wrestlers were unable to make much headway over the next two minutes. Guy was able to stay on top for the most part, keeping Jones from escaping and tying the score. But as time expired to end the second period, Jones finally broke free, equaling the score at 2-2 going into the all-important third and final period.
The climactic moment of the match came with 1:37 left, when Guy was able to escape Jones’ hold, and whip it around into a two-point takedown. The three-point swing made the score 5-2 in favor of Guy. And while Jones managed another escape with 20 seconds left to pull within 5-3, Guy held his dominant position for well over a minute, keeping Jones at bay. It was another state tournament match in which Guy’s opponent never managed to take him down.
Saturday night’s state championship finals match pitted Guy (51-4) against his toughest opponent yet - Cade Haines of Central Academy (48-4).
Haines earned his ticket to the state finals with a pin over 22-6 Wesley Melton of Owen High School in the first round, a 9-1 major decision victory over 43-5 Trent Walker of Currituck County in the quarterfinals, and an 8-4 decision over 35-3 A.J. Wingate of Foard High School in the semifinals.
In the championship match, Guy fought his hardest, but couldn't manage to stay in control. At the 4:55 mark - with just 1:05 left in the third period- Haines managed to pin Guy to win the state championship. Although it was a disappointing finish for the BYHS star, he finishes his senior season with the Bucs with a spectacular overall record of 51-5, along with a second place finish statewide.