Isaiah Ferguson, CFNN Reporter

The Cape Fear wrestling team attended the Patriot Athletic Conference Tournament at Pine Forest High School on Saturday, February 1st. Led by head coach Heath Wilson, the Colts left as champions of the tournament. They demonstrated focus, technique and raw talent, leading to a well-deserved conference title and team score of 132.5. Cape Fear performed exceptionally well both as a team and individually. 

Dallas Wilson controls his opponent.

Conference wrestler of the year went to well-known Cape Fear athlete Dallas Wilson. Wilson has had an outstanding season and has contributed significantly to Cape Fear’s success this year. His hard work on and off the mat earned him this befitting award. His current record is 32-2, and he is excited to defend his state title for the second time. 

“It’s [the conference tournament] a good way to kick off the postseason. The kid I wrestled in the finals will likely be my opponent in the regional finals, and possibly even the state finals, so to come out with a win is a confidence booster,” Wilson said.

Nick Minnacapeli was named PAC Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler. This award is given to the wrestler who shows the greatest skill on the mat that day and exceeds standards for the tournament. 

Nick Minacapeli pins his opponent in the finals.

“It feels great, it’s unbelievable. I didn’t think I was gonna get it. It was amazing I did not expect it at all,” Minnacapeli said.

Throughout the day, the nine schools of the Patriot Athletic Conference (PAC) participated in individual matches based on thirteen weight classes. Of the thirteen, six Cape Fear Wrestlers placed in the top three, and two placed in the top four. 

Wilson’s pin at 145 was impressive, albeit expected. Minacapeli’s pin in the finals illustrated his focus and dominance on the day. In the 132 lb class, Dawson Travis finished in 4th place after coming up just short in his consolation finals match 6-9. Jose Paz earned a 2nd place finish at the 138 lb class after losing to Southview’s Kevin Brewington in the finals. Aiden Barbour finished 3rd in the 152 lb class after a thrilling 5-1 victory in the consolation finals. 

“Personally I believe I wrestled a little sloppy, but there were some things I did good. That was the only bad part,” Barbour reflected after his big win.

In the 160 and 170 lb weight classes. Jahleel Parks placed 2nd at 160 after falling to Terry Sanford Wrestler Zachary Pranka.  Jahleel was proud of his performance. “I worked pretty hard over the summer and all of this season,” he said after his match. “I didn’t think I’d make it this far, I thought I’d get 3rd or 4th place, but I pushed myself for that 2nd.” 

In the 170 weight class, Jaden Pual won first place. His final match was a marvelous 5-3 decision over John Moshman of Overhills. It was a huge win for Paul. “Technique, dedication, commitment. I was just better than the other dude,” he said afterward. 

Lastly were the heavyweights at 285 lbs. Chason Bryant finished in 4th place after coming up short against Overhills wrestler Joshua Oates.  

After the final points were tallied, the Colts were announced as the tournament champion. It was an awesome surprise for a hard working team. The Cape Fear wrestling team will continue their season at the regional tournament on February 14th and 15th. Get out and support our Colts!