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Derby wins state 2A wrestling title

First Flight’s Jeremiah Derby defeated Landon Shuford from West Iredell on a 6-3 decision in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships at Greensboro February 17 to win the 2A-126 pound state championship and help the Nighthawks place 12th overall in a field of 79 schools.

Other Northeastern Coastal Conference 2A teams at the state finals included Pasquotank County in 15th place with 32 points, Northeastern in 36th place with 14 points, and Currituck County in 44th place tied with Bartlett Yancey and Lincolnton at 11 points each. Derby accounted for 26 of the 49 points earned by the First Flight team.

In 1-A competition Manteo placed 18th with 16 points while Cape Hatteras and John A. Holmes finished in a nine-way tie for 31st place with no points scored.

Working his way up through the state finals at the Greensboro Coliseum, Derby scored two technical falls, a victory won by outscoring an opponent by a specified number of points, and extended his unbeaten streak this season to 41 matches. It was the Nighthawks grappler’s second state championship.

In 2015 Derby won the 2A East Regional championship at 106 pounds and placed sixth at the NCHSAA State finals. In 2016 Derby was 2A East Regional and NCHSAA state championship at 113 pounds. The 2017 season ended with Derby the 2A East Regional 120 pound champion with a second place finish in the state finals.

In the 2A-113 pound matches First Flight teammate Arien Leigh lost on a narrow 5-4 decision to Thomasville’s Timothy Hepler in the championship round to place second in the state. Leigh, who won the 2A-106 state championships in 2017, ended the season 31-2 while Hepler maintained an undefeated 50-0 slate.

In other area wrestling results Alex Nguyen scored 3 team points for First Flight by pinning Landon Pendry (Ledford) at 4:51 in a 120 pound consolation round. It was the only win for Nguyen who scored but failed to place.

Scoring all 11 of Currituck County’s points Albert Harris finished in fifth place at 220 pounds capping off a 37-5 season in 2A competition.

In 1A action Jonathan Zafra of Manteo advanced to the final championship round at 195 pounds with a 7-6 decision in the quarterfinals over Eric Olvera (Mt Airy), and a win by fall in the semifinals by pinning Swain County’s Jacob Langston at the 3:30 mark.

In the championship round Zafra lost a 12-3 major decision to Cory Farmer of Murphy to finish second in the state at 195 pounds with a 25-10 season record.

Also in 1A competition was 126 pound Cape Hatteras wrestler Nevaeh Willis who failed to score and failed to place ending the season with a 23-6 record.