Isaiah Ferguson, CFNN Reporter

Coach Heath Wilson with son and 3-Time State Champion Dallas Wilson.

On February 22nd and 23rd, Individuals from the Cape Fear wrestling team traveled to the Greensboro Coliseum to compete against schools from around the state in the State Championship Tournament. This two-day tournament featured the sixteen best wrestlers in the state in each weight class.

The Colts qualified five wrestlers for the State Championship, meaning that they placed in the top four in our mideast region. Senior Dallas Wilson won the regional at 145, Sophomore Jayden Paul won the regional at 170, Sophomore Jaleel Parks finished third in the region at 160,  Junior Vincent Valentine won the region at 195, and Senior Nick Minicapelli won the regional at 220.  

Wilson won his first match of the state tournament by tech fall in an impressive 2:41. He won his second match by fall in 1:18. He went on to win by pin in the semi-finals and finished with a tech fall in the finals, winning an amazing THIRD State Championship. Wilson squared off against some tough opponents in all four of his matches, but the outcome was never in doubt. He had one thing in mind: A third gold medal around his neck.

Wilson receives his medal from Principal Brian Edkins

“Nothing can compare to reaching a goal I set for myself,” he said afterward.

Nick Minacapelli demolished his competition by almost pinning his way through the tournament. “I definitely was more confident after winning my second match. After I beat him I thought it ‘will be easy from here on out,’” he said. 

Minicapelli says “Cheese!”

In his first match, he pinned Luke Kittrell  from East Wake in 32 seconds. In the second match, he scored a major decision over Alex McCalop 16-8. In the third match he pinned Cody Hardy of Parkwood in the third period. In the finals, Nick was leading 7-3 before pinning his opponent early in the second period.  He demonstrated some impressive strength throughout the tournament, winning all of his matches with relative ease. 

Jaleel Parks had an outstanding first match, winning by a decision 7-0. Unfortunately he lost the next two matches in close decisions 3-2 and 5-3. It was a tough tournament for the sophomore, but he felt good about his showing and is excited about the future.

“I’ll be training over the off season to stay healthy and wrestling in different national tournaments.”

Jaden Paul finished fourth in the state, and the sophomore was proud of his finish. “I wrestled pretty good in my opinion,” he said.  He won his first two matches to reach the semifinals before being tech-falled by the defending state champion. He worked his way through the consolation bracket to earn a shot at third place.  He came up just short, and settled for fourth place in the state. “I felt like during one of my matches I could do better,” he said.

Vincent Valentine lost his first match in a close decision, but won his next in the consolation bracket before losing his third match, eliminating him from competition. He made a strong showing and felt good about the future, “All the people and lights made an amazing experience competing in front of thousands of people, but was very nerve wracking”. he said.

The Cape Fear wrestling team had a strong successful season. Their impressive showing at the State Tournament earned them a fourth place finish. The team has continued their strong tradition and will no doubt continue their winning ways.  As for State Champions Nick Minicapelli and Dallas Wilson, they will possibly wrestle in the national individual tournament, so stay tuned to find out when and where to support our colts.