Bartlett Yancey wrestling coach Rick Hill was proud to see two of his standout wrestlers - 160-pound Justin Guy and 170-pound Zack Ricchini - make it all the way to the NCHSAA 2A state finals. Guy finished second statewide in his weight class, while Ricchini advanced to the state quarterfinals and finished in the top eight in his class.
“It was an amazing season. It has been a blessing to see both Justin and Zack battle through adversity throughout their high school careers, and finish their wrestling careers off right with a trip to the state championships,” Hill said.
Although there was some disappointment that the Bucs grapplers didn’t go all the way - especially with Guy, who came within a single victory of a state title - there’s a great deal of pride within the BYHS program to send two individual wrestlers to the state finals in the same year for the first time in history.
“Neither of the guys finished where they wanted to finish. Justin and Zack both wanted to be standing in the No. 1 spot on the podiums so they both still feel the sting of not making their ultimate goal,” Hill said. “However, Coach Smith, their parents, family, teammates, and myself are very proud of them. They made it a historic season here at Bartlett Yancey.”
“Over the last four or five years I have been trying to compile all the information I can on past regional champs and state placers (at BYHS) and what I have not been able to find is anyone ever placing higher than fifth (in the state tournament). We have been trying to start a tradition here and do like other teams and put those names of people on a banner. It is great to see that now we will be able to put both Justin and Zack on the banner as regional champions and we will now be able to put Justin Guy on the banner as our first ever State Runner-up.”
Ricchini and Guy have helped set a new standard of excellence at Bartlett Yancey, and they won’t soon be forgotten by their coaches and teammates.
“It was great to watch Justin and Zack perform under the big lights and leave it all on the mat,” Hill said. “They both had some setbacks by the time the tournament was over but I know they will both bounce back and use what they have learned on the mat over the years to help them handle their next chapters in life after high school.”