Bucs wrestlers looking ahead to NCHSAA Regionals

Bartlett Yancey freshman wrestler Dylan Wall completes a pin during the recent tournament at Cummings High School in Burlington on January 19. The Bucs had a strong showing at the Cummings tournament, as well as the Buccaneer Cup, which was held the previous weekend inside Lindsey Page Gymnasium. The Bucs are now looking ahead to the upcoming NCHSAA 2A regional meet, where several BYHS wrestlers will compete for a shot at the state championships. 

Bartlett Yancey’s wrestling squad has completed its regular season dual schedule, and also has competed in a couple recent tournaments. On January 12, the Bucs hosted its annual BYHS Buccaneer Cup. The following weekend, the Bucs traveled to a tournament in Burlington before competing in the Mid-State Conference tournament January 26. 

“Our team had a pretty good showing,” BYHS head wrestling coach Rick Hill said of the school’s host event. “We got a couple kids back off the injury or sick list, but was still shorthanded in the individual tournament. We were able to get seven kids into the individual tournament and had more than half of the seven placed.”  

Freshman Evan Lucas (120 pounds) finished in third place at the Buccaneer Cup, bringing home his first ever piece of hardware - a bronze medal. 

Another BYHS ninth grader, Dylan Wall, finished with a silver medal as a runner-up in the 195 pound weight class, as he was bumped up a weight class for this particular tournament. 

The Bucs wrapped up the Buccaneer Cup with two individual weight class victories, as seniors Justin Guy and Zack Ricchini continued to dominate individual competition. Both Guy and Ricchini went undefeated on the day, bringing home gold. 

“Justin continued to shine in the 160 lb weight class, while we bumped Zack up to 182 pounds and he dominated that weight class,” Hill said. 

On January 19, the Bucs wrestled at Cummings High in Burlington at The Andy Hawks Duals.

“We put up another good fight as a team but could only pull out one team victory,” Hill explained. “Overall, all the individuals did good on the day but the numbers game just caught up to us. We only had six kids that were good enough to go on Saturday and the majority of all of them left with a winning record on the day.” 

Sophomore Zaquan Cagle and senior Kyle Grodem each grabbed three victories in Burlington with only two losses on the day. Both Cagle and Grodem earned two pins in their victories, along with a forfeit. Freshman Dylan Wall had a 4-1 record, earning two pins and two forfeit victories. 

Justin Guy continued his excellent season by undefeated, winning three of his matches by a technical fall, while the other two victories came via forfeit. One of the forfeits came from a team trying to dodge him and not have their wrestler take him on. 

Zack Ricchini pinned three opponents in Burlington. He won a decision match (7-0), and picked up one forfeit. 

“One of the wrestlers that Zack defeated by pin was a good wrestler that we think the other team was trying to keep from wrestling Justin because he was in Justin’s weight class, but they didn't realize Zack was just as tough,” Hill said. “The wrestler that lost to Zack 7-0 coach clearly tried to dodge Justin in a match as we bumped Justin up a weight class to take him on, but that wrestler only ran into another buzz saw in Zack that grinned that wrestler out and did not even let him score a single point in the match.”

Hill is pleased by the progress of the squad as it heads into the postseason. In the coming weeks, some of BYHS’s top grapplers such as Guy, Ricchini, Wall, Grodem, and Cagle will be competing for spots in the NCHSAA 2-A individual state championships in the Greensboro Coliseum in mid-February.  

“As the season winds down I am glad to see our wrestlers all starting to have some success,” Hill said. “Hopefully coming up all our wrestlers will start making some statements. Also now with it only being the regionals and states left it will be great to see some of our guys like Justin and Zack finally not being dodged by opponents and hopefully they can test themselves against some of the best our state has to offer.”