GREENSBORO — After losing his first-round match, Richmond Senior’s Housten Hayden grabbed back-to-back victories in order to move on to the consolation bracket quarterfinals.
There, Hayden would face off against Harding’s JoVaughn Gwyn in a match that almost went the distance. The heavyweight match made it past the first period and looked to be heading into a third, as both wrestlers kept up the energy during the second period. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, however, Hayden found himself on the wrong end of a pin attempt.
The referee felt that both of Hayden’s shoulders were pressed against mat and called the match right before the buzzer went off — a call that Richmond coach Earl Nicholson deemed “questionable.”
“I felt that if Hayden would’ve been able to continue into the third period, he would’ve advanced to the medal rounds,” Nicholson said. “With Gwyn noticably tired, I felt that Houston would’ve dominated the third period.”
Hayden (285 lbs) was one of the three Richmond Senior wrestlers who competed in the North Carolina individual wrestling championships held Thursday through Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum. The other two Raiders who made an appearance in Greensboro were Jayshaun Jasper (145 lbs) and Antoine Shaw (220 lbs).
Jasper (40-12) lost his opening match by pin to West Forsyth’s Jevon Boozer, who placed fifth overall in the state. In the consolation first round, Jasper fell in a 6-2 decision to Mallard Creek’s Kai Lee.
Shaw (33-8) also lost his first-round matchup. He would lose a close 3-2 decision to Cardinal Gibbons’ Jalen Brooks, who went on to place second in the state. Shaw lost another close decision to Cary’s Davin Vann in the consolation’s opening match.
Hayden (41-9) fell to Porter Ridge’s Branden Nguyen 7-0 in his opening matchup. His first win in the consolation bracket was a pin over Green Hope’s Nick Castro, while his second was a 5-3 overtime victory over Cape Fear’s Josh Jones.
Gwyn and Nguyen — Hayden’s two losses — finished third and fifth in the state, respectively.
“I was proud of our performance. I think the lack of experience was the toughest obstacle for us to overcome. Someday, I hope that we can level the playing field so that can Richmond can eventually get our first state champion,” Nicholson added. “With that being said, I commend my wrestlers on how hard they train to bridge the gap and still be competitive against more experienced wrestling programs.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.