Polk County wrestlers capture individual, team titles at Junior High State Championship

Published 11:33 am Monday, February 6, 2023

The future of wrestling in Polk County is rather bright. The present isn’t too shabby, either.


Led by a pair of individual state champions, a team of Polk County wrestlers took top honors Saturday at the 41st Annual Junior High State Championships, held at the Rise Sports Complex in Advance.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


Polk County’s Styler Blackwell and Zalen McCraw each won state titles to lead the Wolverines, whose team consisted of wrestlers in grades 7-9 from both Polk County Middle and Polk County High Schools. Blackwell won the 154-pound class for eighth graders while McCraw claimed the 162-pound class for ninth graders.


Polk County finished ahead of teams from Pisgah High School, BeastWorks Wrestling in Jacksonville and East Wilkes Middle School.


Blackwell’s title came against a familiar foe as he faced Waynesville Middle School’s Ty Walker for the third time in the past two weeks. Blackwell and Walker entered the third period tied at 2-2, but Blackwell scored an escape and then a near-fall in the final period to secure his state title and claim his third straight win over Walker.


Polk Middle’s Efrain Rivera added a second-place showing in the 100-pound eighth grade class while Connor Ahlert and Kam Montgomery had third-place finishes. Sawyer Huff added a fourth-place result.