CFNN Reporter Kaleigh Barbour 

As the season began to shorten and practices became harder, our Cape Fear Colts took the mat at the State Championship in Greensboro. 

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association hosted their three-day wrestling tournament this past weekend. It was three days of the top 16 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A wrestlers from all across the state competing against each other for the right to call themselves State Champion. 

Of the 14 weight classes, the Colts sent 6 wrestlers to the tournament: Samuel Aponte at 106, Carson Boisvert at 138, Calan Staub at 152, Gatlan Thompson at 160, Jaden Paul at 182, and Landon Sargent at 220.

Not only did the Colts finish 3rd in the tournament, but they came away with two STATE CHAMPIONS in Aponte and Staub. Landen Sargent and Jaden Paul were also impressive, finishing as State Runners Up. 

Sophomore Landen Sargent Pinned his way to the finals, winning his first three matches by fall. He had a little bit to say about the matches last weekend “I felt like it was a great tournament. It was planned out very well and everything was fast paced.”

Sargent won his semifinal match with a first period pin. For those unfamiliar with top tier wrestling, a pin in the state semifinals is a rare occurrence, which makes Sargent’s first period domination even more impressive.

During the first day of the tournament, Jaden Paul (15-3) won his first round match with a fall over Gage Tomlin (2:23). He won his next two matches by major decision to reach the finals.

Samuel Aponte (32-3) won a dramatic match to claim his hardware. After falling behind early in his finals match, Aponte wrestled one of his best matches and was able to come from behind to win his medal in dramatic fashion in the closing seconds of the match. It was incredible to witness.

Lastly, Calan Staub (77-18) won by decision over Conner Weaver in a tough, physical match. Staub came into the match as an underdog, but proved to everyone in the arena Saturday that underestimating him was a bad idea. 

“Winning the state championship made me feel like all the late nights and early mornings of dieting and working out paid off,” said Staub afterward. “But I quickly felt unsatisfied because I want to accomplish more. That is one reason why I plan to wrestle at the next level.”

Wrestlers say the experience at states was very positive. After competing and getting a point for themselves and the team “Just hearing everyone cheer you on is the greatest feeling ever,” said Sargent. 

Teamwork played a big factor in making their experience a success. “We would practice moves on each other and just lift them up and cheer them on,” Said State Champion Samuel Aponte. 

With not only spectators but other competition watching, our colt wrestlers definitely put all their effort into placing.

Both sophomores Landen Seargent and Samuel Aponte enjoyed their chance at states and are hoping to come back better and able to place first their next wrestling season. 

Samuel Aponte mentioned a couple goals for the next season, Well, there’s always room for improvement, but as a sophomore I’m looking forward to coming back and winning two more times.” 

Our Cape Fear Colts did an amazing job representing our school’s seriousness with our athletic program and their devotion to the sport they each individually love. They had an eventful season and ended it with a State Championship!