Polk wrestling focused on individual accomplishments

Published 11:35 am Thursday, January 24, 2013

Juan Vera pins his opponent at a recent match. Vera hopes to get another shot at the state championship this year. (photo by Mark Schmerling)

Individual performances, rather than team dominance, will have to satisfy Polk County High School wrestling followers as the Wolverines near the end of the regular season.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22 senior Juan Vera (113-pound class) pinned visiting Madison’s Stephen Smith, to extend his record to 33-1, and continue his quest of a state championship. At 145 pounds, Anthony Marino (11-11) earned a 6-1 decision over Madison’s Clark, and Wolverine heavyweight Chase McMurray pinned Ray Stines in only 9 seconds, to raise his season mark to 17-6.

All of those heroics couldn’t stop Madison, which drove home with a 53-21 win. Polk’s other points came as Jerry Cox earned a forfeit at 189.

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Polk’s next meet was moved to this evening, Jan. 24 at Mountain Heritage (originally slated for Friday). On Jan. 29, the Wolverines host Mitchell and Shelby. On Feb. 1, they visit Avery for the season’s last regularly-scheduled meet.

Much of the post-season tournament attention will center on Vera, whom, two years ago, as a sophomore was state runner-up. In last year’s state tournament, he led T.W. Andrews’ Quan Le, 9-2, but was hurt in that contest, and had to settle for sixth place.

“We think he’ll be a state champ,” predicted Wolverine’s head coach Phillip Miller. “Anything other than a state title will be a disappointment.”
Le, who was state runner-up last year, is currently ranked No. 1 in North Carolina. “He’s going to come in second again,” Miller brashly noted.
Vera is currently ranked second statewide.

“We didn’t wrestle well (against Madison),” observed Miller, whose squad dropped to 7-19. But, he promised, “Better times are coming.”

Did the Wolverines lack some intensity on Tuesday?

“Our heads were down,” admitted Miller about the Jan. 18 meet. “We got beaten by a team (Hendersonville, who narrowly defeated the Wolverines) we should have beaten. That’s what high school is like.”

Another bright spot for Polk though is McMurray, a junior.
“He’s had a pretty good year,” said Miller.  “At heavyweight, it’s either pin or get pinned.”
McMurray is currently not ranked among the region’s top four heavyweights. Only the top four finishers in the regional tournament go to states. Given that, Miller still said McMurray has a chance to advance beyond regionals.

Senior Alex Metcalf (15-13), who stands at 15-13 after losing a decision at 152 on Jan. 22, is the Wolverines other grappler with a winning record. He’s also wrestled at 145.

Just a sophomore, Anthony Marino (138/145) has the potential to be a big winner for Polk. Already muscular and strong, Marino “is just going to get better,” noted Miller.

Rounding out Tuesday’s meet, Polk was hurt by forfeit losses at 106 and 120. At 126, Peyton Gevedon lost by decision, followed by losses by Dustin Galvert (decision at 132), Cameron Reed (pinned at 138), Metcalf (pinned at 152), Zack Price (pinned at 160), Daniel Cox (who lost a decision at 170), Joel Hernandez (who lost a close decision at 195) and by 220-pounder Robert Waldrop (by pin).