morehead city — Jake Reynolds has started the season strong, helping the West Carteret wrestling team win its annual Fall Beach Brawl and then pitching in to assist the Patriots in a dramatic 42-37 win over Topsail in their dual-team season opener.
The junior is 3-0 on the year.
“We’re doing pretty good,” Reynolds said. “We’ve gotten off to a good start and I think we’ll get better.”
West began the 2018-2019 campaign by edging New Bern in its Fall Beach Brawl. The Patriots put up 148.5 points to the Bears’ 146.5.
Reynolds won the 182-pound division, pinning Rosewood’s Patrick Jones in 2:43 in the final. He pinned New Bern’s Maurice Powell in 3:10 in the semifinal.
“I felt pretty confident going into the Beach Brawl,” Reynolds said. “I knew a lot of us could win and that we could do pretty good.”
Topsail took third in the event with 105 points.
West matched up with Topsail last week in the season opener dual match.
The Pirates fired out the gates with a 31-0 lead.
“We knew their little guys were really good,” Reynolds said. “We knew we had to get a lot of gains and knew it was going to be tough but we knew where we stood.”
The Patriots then ripped off a dominating 7-1 match run to squeak out a five-point win.
Tyler Kent started the run with a pin of Lucas Cotto at 138 pounds. Freshman Cole Reynolds stepped up next with a pin over David Herring at 145 pounds to cut Topsail's lead to 31-12.
Senior Will Willis tallied West's third straight pin, taking down Gavin Shipley at 152 pounds before Topsail's Devon Bell captured a pin over junior Clayton Wilson at 160 pounds.
With West trailing 37-18, Hiroki Cruz bucked the tide again with a come-from-behind victory over Alexander Sims at 170 pounds. The freshman was down 4-0 at the end of the first period before pinning Sims with 31 seconds left in the second.
“As soon as Tyler won, we knew it was going to start changing,” Reynolds said. “Our best kids came up right after their best kids. Hiroki was the difference maker. We thought that was going to decide it. When he won, we knew we could do it.”
The momentum stayed in West's corner for the next two matchups, with Reynolds pinning Braedon Kennedy at 182 pounds to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Senior Micah Dixon then pinned Ethan Parker at 195 pounds.
With his team down 37-36, Manuel Jaurequi needed only a win by decision to grab the lead for good. The 220-pound junior sealed the deal with a first-period pin of Tyler Allison to bring the crowd to its feet.
Johnson helped West capture its first 3A Coastal Conference championship in five years last season thanks to a 48-21 victory over Havelock in the regular season finale. Both teams entered the match with 4-0 league records.
“We would like to win that again,” he said. “And qualify for the state playoffs.”
Reynolds fought his way though the consolation round to finish fourth at the 3A east regional and qualify for the state tournament in his sophomore season with a 34-24 record. He lost his first two matches at the state tournament. His first loss came to Cape Fear Marcelino Vernagallo, who went on to win his second straight state title and finish his senior year 42-0.
“He was an All-American, and he was pretty good,” Reynolds said. “I never wrestled anybody as good as that guy. It was nice knowing he was graduating.”
Reynolds said he entered the offseason with a goal of placing at this year’s state tournament.
“I definitely worked a lot harder, went to a lot of camps, lifted, got stronger,” he said. ‘
He started wrestling when he was 5 but then left the sport. He played basketball in middle school and returned to wrestling as a freshman.
Reynolds has taken care of business when it comes to hitting the books, sporting a 3.44 GPA.
“I’m doing all right,” he said. “I’m not anything special or great.”
Here are a few of Reynold’s favorite things, as well as his ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse and the five items he would take with him on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “The Notebook.”
Favorite TV Show: “Ballers.”
Favorite Cartoon: “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Kodak Black.
Favorite Song: “Mo Bamba” by Sheck Wes.
Favorite Book: The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.
Favorite Team: New England Patriots.
Favorite Player: Tom Brady.
Favorite Vacation: Cruise.
Favorite Hobby: Fishing.
Favorite Subject: History.
Favorite Quote: “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
Favorite Food: Pizza.
Favorite Drink: Gatorade.
Favorite Restaurant: Five Guys.
Favorite Season: Fall.
Favorite Sports Memory: Qualifying for states.
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Ted Kenneally.
Favorite Sport: Wrestling.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Shaking coach’s hand.
Favorite Website/App: Instragram.
Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: @sommerray.
Ideal Dinner Guest List: Donald Trump, John Daly, Bob Marley and Josie Burns.
Ideal Group To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Brennan Kelsey, Will Newbern, Ruffin Mancuso, Tyler Lowe, coach Ray and coach Justin.
Items for a deserted island: Knife, flare gun, medicine, rope and food.