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Avery junior wrestler Josh Gragg picked up a victory in dual meet and tournament action last week. Submitted photo

Originally published: 2012-11-28 15:01:44
Last modified: 2012-11-28 15:01:44

Vikings grapplers opens season with dual meets, Old Appalachian tournament

Jamie Shell / (

Avery wrestling began its 2012-13 campaign with new head coach Derrick Calloway with a pair of dual meets in Asheville on Monday, Nov. 19. The Vikings traveled to Watauga High School two days later to take part in the Old Appalachian wrestling tournament.
AHS took the mat for its first dual meet against Ashville School, winning decisively by the final match score of 75 to 6. Earning wins during the match were Will Jordan (106 pounds), Alex Clark (113 pounds), Ben Clark (120 pounds), Preston Childress (126 pounds), Chris Clark (132 pounds), Harley Rash (138 pounds), Zac Freeman (145 pounds), Josh Gragg (152 pounds), Jonah Tenge (170 pounds), Hayden Honeycutt (182 pounds), Kyle Ward (195 pounds), Ryan Shappard (220 pounds) and Scott Wiseman (285 pounds).
"We had a full roster with us, and we started with a pinfall. Everything just started rolling after that," Calloway said. "Our fans were excited, our wrestlers were excited, and it was a great atmosphere."
AHS met a tougher opponent in the final dual of the night, falling to McDowell by a 47-30 match score.
Earning bout victories for Avery were Jordan, Rash, Freeman, Ward and Wiseman.
"Experience was the biggest difference in the match against McDowell. They have seven seniors on their club, but we kept the match close until the final three matches," Calloway added. "We can't give up bonus points, and if we didn't give up the pins and bonus points, we would have been close or would have won the match."
Avery ventured to Boone on Wednesday, Nov. 21, for the Old Appalachian tournament. The event featured six of the top teams among several classes in the state, including the top two schools in the 3A classification.
Avery finished 15th in the event, but several wrestlers, including Rash, Freeman,
Gragg, Childress and Sheppard each picked up wins.
"Harley and Zac also earned wins in the previous duals, so they've been wrestling well for us and I'm happy for them," Calloway added.
Despite the difficulties and losses in the early going, Calloway is convinced that losses in November will translate into victories in December, January and February for several of his wrestlers.
"It's really early in the season, and I'd be lying if I said nobody cares about wins and losses, but right now I'm fine with the losses as long as our wrestlers are gaining experience from them that will help turn some of those losses now into wins in matches down the road," Calloway explained.
Avery hosts a dual meet with East Wilkes and Draughn this Thursday, Nov. 29, and travels to Patton High School this Saturday, Dec. 1, for a tournament.