Clinton High School’s Ivan Zelaya made his third trip the NCHSAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament this past weekend. In his senior season, he finished the tournament fourth place in the 195-pound weight class.
“Going into the season, the state tournament was not the goal; it was the destination. Everything he did was to get to Greensboro,” said head coach James Moore.
Zelaya had made previous trips to the state tournament, “exiting as quickly as he arrived,” his coach noted.
“This year was going to different. Every drill, every match and every statement was geared to get to day three of the tournament and be in a position to medal. He accomplished that and much, much more,” Moore added.
Zelaya entered the tournament as a competitor ranked outside of the top 10 in the state. That did little to slow him down, pinning his first opponent in 57 seconds to move on to the quarterfinal round. He met his match in the next round when he was forced to face off against the top ranked 195-pounder in the state. He was winning the match by a point before he was pushed off balance and loss due to a fall at 5:02.
This sent Zelaya into the consolation bracket, where he used his well-known aggression and technique to make it to the consolation final. Beating his second round opponent by fall and winning his third round match by decision, he reached the semifinal. Then in another 57-second match he found himself in the finals. He lost the finals match by another fall.
“As a coach, I am so proud of what he accomplished in his senior season and look to build off this success. We have a few current underclassmen that should definitely have a chance at making the tournament next year,” Moore concluded.
Zelaya wraps up his final season in a Dark Horses uniform with a fourth-place state finish that was accompanied by a 26-4 record.
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