The Ashe Wrestling Academy made a big splash in its first season of competition, taking second place at an Alleghany tournament that featured some of the top youth wrestling teams in the area.
“People laughed at us when we started this year since we are a first year program with kids that never wrestled before,” said Coach Alex Wray. “By the end of the year, nobody was laughing anymore.”
Initially, the Ashe Wrestling Academy started out with just three young wrestlers, but as the season went on, the number jumped to 25.
In the first round of the tournament, Ashe battled Alleghany and had several key wins along the way. Colby Baldwin’s heavyweight match victory was the deciding win for Ashe to move on to the semifinals with a 35-34 victory.
In the semifinals, Ashe faced an all-star team from Mount Airy, one of the top teams in North Carolina. The Mount Airy squad defeated Ashe by just one point.
“I am so proud of them. I told them it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” said Coach Wray.
In the next round, the academy battled team Slaughter House from Virginia. Instead of letting their only loss of the tournament get to them, the boys came out strong with a big win from Ryder Phipps, and an overtime victory from Luke Peterson against a state champion youth wrestler.
“Every boy on the team fought for the team until the end and they did something special finishing second,” said Wray.
Coach Wray was also really proud of team captain Zack Bare.
“He is the captain of the team, a great leader and is the glue on the team. He keeps everything together,” said Coach Wray.
Coach Wray and Coach Chad Phipps would like to thank the sponsors that made this possible including Mastercraft Homes, Appalachian Utilities and A1 Mountain Realty, and thank the parents for the help and support throughout the season.
For more information on the Ashe Wrestling Academy, visit their Facebook page or contact the academy by email at email@example.com.