Three high school wrestlers placed in the regional championship — and one at the state level — last month.
Ravon Kirkland, Achee Hoskins and Nikalus Leak all competed in the regional championship at Piedmont High School Feb. 10-11.
Kirkland later placed third in the state championship at the Greensboro Coliseum on Feb. 18.
Hoskins, a sophomore, placed fourth in the 152 weight class during the regional championship.
This was his first time at the championship. He was proud of his performance.
“I expected it to be tough, but I went out and wrestled,” he said, adding that he needs to improve his technique.
“I felt like I kept the pace high the whole match and wrestled smart,” he said. “My family said I did a good job, and to stay eligible and keep my grades up.”
Next year, he hopes to be the state champion.
Since he’s only in 10th grade, he has time before graduation. He said he may try to continue wrestling, but he’s not sure.
If he were to give another student advice, he’d tell them to be diligent.
“I would say to keep your head up, keep working hard, and one day, it’ll be you,” Hoskins said.
He thanked his coaches, family and other supporters who watched his matches.
“Most of all, I thank God for letting me be in this position,” he said.
Leak, a senior, placed third in the 195 weight class at the regional event.
He said he expected to place first, but was still excited to place.
“I felt like there were moments in practice I could’ve been serious and take it to the next level,” he said. I could’ve come in first if I wasn’t being arrogant.”
Leak said he still was happy with himself.
“I wouldn’t quit,” he said. “There were moments where it looked bad, but I kept fighting instead of turning it over.”
His mother, grandmother and aunt were present for the regional championship.
“They seemed proud of me, like my accomplishments,” he said. “They look forward to seeing me continue.”
He had some advice for others working to achieve similar goals.
“I’d say to never give up, never look back on past mistakes unless to correct them,” he said. “Never get above yourself, because there’s always somebody above you. Remember that.”
He later added through a Facebook message to the Anson Record that he feels he has improved thanks to his sport.
“I feel like because of wrestling I became a warrior,” Leak said. “Not just for my pride, but for my school, my family and my teammates. Wrestling taught me to never give in because anything is possible as long as you put the time and dedication into your dreams. Wrestling taught me that it takes more than just saying you want to complete a task. It takes blood, sweat and tears to be the best.
“I learned from wrestling to always hold a drowning man above water,” he continued. “This means your teammates, your rivals, your coach, and yourself. I have learned many valuable lessons from my six years of wrestling that I would never forget. I would like to thank the entire wrestling community for making a man out of a boy.”
Leak will graduate this year. He hopes to earn wrestling scholarships, and if not, plans to go to South Piedmont Community College or Richmond County Community College to obtain a degree in business before transferring to a four-year school. He eventually plans to begin a hydroponics business.
Kirkland, also a senior, placed second in the 220 weight class in the regional championship.
He has been wrestling since seventh grade.
“It was a good experience for me,” he said of the wins. “I was expecting to come in first, but things happen.”
Kirkland said there were things he could have done to better his chances of winning.
“In the second match, instead of doing offense, I was on defense,” he said. “It worked into his hands more than my hands. I felt like I could have done better because there’s always room for improvement. I feel like I did pretty good, though.”
Kirkland said his attitude during the competitions was positive.
“I did good at not giving up — keep fighting,” he said.
Kirkland will also graduate this year. He plans to attend a four-year school and major in business. He eventually wants to study animals and go into business selling purebred dogs.
Several relatives have attended his matches to cheer him on.
“Everybody was proud of me, but they know I could have done better, though,” he said.
If he had to coach someone else in his position, he would tell them to work to achieve their dreams.
“Stay humble, work hard, if you want to get to the top, if you’re number one or not,” he said. “Strive to be number one always. Never take a day off.”
Coach James Wall was pleased with his students, saying that not many Anson students get the chance to compete at the state level.
“Anytime they step on the podium, we definitely get excited for them,” he said.
Wall said his team has improved in the last year, winning 20 matches and making the state team duels. His team this year was mostly comprised of freshmen and sophomores with Leak and Kirkland as his sole seniors.
The team is currently in the 3A division and will move to 2A next season.
“We have high expectations every year, no matter how good or bad we do,” Wall said. “It’s all about developing vision.”
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.