After placing first in their weight classes at the Cap-8 regional championships, two Leesville students, Matt Cesari, sophomore, and C.J. Kimmerly, junior, proceeded to the North Carolina state High School championships February 23-25.
Taking place in the Greensboro Coliseum, the three day championship event was a memorable experience for both participants.
“You feel like a gladiator,” said Cesari, “you’re in the warm-up room, then they call your weight class. You walk through this tunnel with a low ceiling and come out into this massive arena, filled with people.”
There were 784 wrestlers entered in the championship, from 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A competitions, each with 8 or 16 qualifiers for every weight class.
“Matt had a good first round match, against a kid from Parkland, the state champs,” Kimmerly said. “I had 2 wins and 2 losses, and Matt went 1 and 2.”
“States went well,” said Coach Wyss. “Although neither of our guys placed, I have hopes for next year since they’ll both be back.”
Kimmerly added, “Overall, we did fairly well considering neither of us are seniors. I think that because our team is building, we’ll have a lot more state qualifiers next year and be able to put a lot more people on the podium. Next year’s championship will hopefully be even better.”