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Five Avery wrestlers earned medals at last weekend’s James Orr Invitational at Robbinsville High
School. Pictured from left are AHS assistant coach Logan McKinney, Ryan Sheppard, Brennan
Clark, Ty Franklin, Zack Freeman, Josh Gragg and head coach Derrick Calloway. Photo courtesy
Leeann Freeman

Avery wrestling hosts second annual Alumni Night Friday 

Avery Vikings wrestling will welcome Thomas Jefferson Academy and Virginia High to Viking Gym at 6 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 24, for a tri-match. Following the first two dual meets featuring TJCA wrestling Avery and Virginia high schools, the matches will pause to recognize Avery wrestling alumni.

Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, as 36 former Vikings wrestlers and coaches returned to AHS to be recognized for their contributions to the rich history of Avery wrestling.

“We’re inviting all former Avery wrestlers to join us as we celebrate Avery wrestling’s long history of great wrestling,” Avery head coach Derrick Calloway said.

The program will be giving T-shirts to the returning alumni, and Calloway hopes in future years to continue recognizing Avery’s past greats.

“As we get our budget up, we hope to give hats next year, and I’m really excited about the response from the former wrestlers,” Calloway explained. “Alumni will get in free, and we are requesting that the wrestlers help us with information on the years they wrestled and the awards won during their careers. We hope to build an alumni database and maintain contact with those guys that have meant so much to the sport here at Avery High School.”

For more information on Alumni Night, call Calloway at the high school at (828) 733-0151, or email

Originally published: 2014-01-22 20:59:45
Last modified: 2014-01-22 21:00:31

Vikings wrestling trounces Mountain Heritage, finishes fourth at Orr Invitational

Jamie Shell / (

Avery wrestling almost pitched a shutout in its dual meet at Mountain Heritage on Tuesday, Jan. 14, defeating the Cougars by a final match score of 76-3.

Blake Johnson set the tone for the Big Red in the match, earning a bout victory by pin at 285 pounds to start the match. The victory over Heritage heavyweight Tyler McFarland was the first for Johnson in six attempts.

“Blake has wrestled McFarland for three years and never beaten him. I was fired up before the match and told Blake he would get us going. His match was intense. When Blake’s arm was raised, I ran out on the mat and hugged him for getting such a huge win, despite getting a coach’s misconduct warning,” Calloway explained. “We just started rolling from that win on and was dominant.”

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to