Angel Najar wins Stokes Award as top wrestler in Northeastern North Carolina
The TakeDown Report presented the 22nd Annual Michael Stokes Award to State Champion Angel Najar of North Pitt High School, as the Top Senior Wrestler in Northern Eastern North Carolina in 2015. Najar defeated all of his opponents in his weight class (160) and the one above. His only loss this season was when he moved up to 182 early in the season to seek out tougher competition in order to improve.
Angel is also the all-time leader in wins in Pitt County with over 200 victories. He placed 2nd in the state as a sophomore, 3rd as a junior and 6th his freshmen season. Coach Randy Meisenhelder beamed while noting that “… he was Tiger Classic, Conference and Regional Champion this year. Angel has been great to work with and a good role model for our younger wrestlers” Coach also praised Angel as “a great example of hard work paying off.” Angel has signed on to wrestle at Appalachian State this fall. Najar is also the top 160 pounder in all of eastern North Carolina and received a wooden plaque engraved with his name.
Stokes remembered his last time at North Pitt when he presented the Award to Angel’s older brother, Xavier Najar four years ago. Stokes shared that “…while he thanked us for the award he emphasized to us that we should keep an eye out for his younger brother who would be even better. At the time we just thought he was being modest and kind to his brother but after seeing Angel’s career we have to note that Xavier gave us an honest evaluation and prediction.”
Michael Stokes wrestled the 1981-1984 seasons at Tarboro High School and with a (96 – 4) career record. He was North Carolina’s 2nd 3-time State Champion when there was only one individual champion at a weight in the state. He wrestled for N.C. State and won ACC wrestling titles in 1988 and 1989 and was named the ACC Most Valuable Wrestler both years. His record of 68 wins 8 losses and 3 ties (.879) is the best career winning percentage at NC State. He finished second at the NCAA Nationals at 126lbs in 1989 to Kendall Cross, the eventual Olympic Gold medalist. Stokes co-captained the Wolfpack in 1989 and one of the ACC’s all time 50 greatest wrestlers as recognized during the conference’s 50th anniversary celebration. Stokes credits wrestling as “providing me with a mental toughness that enables me to remove boundaries that stand in my way. Wrestling has given me the sheer determination to believe that I can conquer anything that I set my mind to do.”
Previous Stokes Award wrestlers include Reggie Huff of Southern Nash (2014), David Guevara of Tarboro (2013), Alexander Knight and Jaciento Williamson of Rocky Mount (2012), Xavier Najar of North Pitt (2011), Joe Young of Northern Nash (2010), Corey Smith of Tarboro (2009), Jasmine Cooper of Nash Central (2008), Eric Wischhusen, (2007), Roylando Lucas (2001) and Ira Bing (2000) of Southern Nash, John Brewer (2006) of Wilson Fike, Anthony Taylor (2005) of Rocky Mount, Sammi Hadi (2004) and Ryan Huffman (1997) of SouthWest Edgecombe, Charles Washington (2003) of Northern Nash, Quadric Eason (2002), Mike Christopher (1999 & 1998), Tony Mercer (1996) and Lee Carroll (1994 & 1995) of Tarboro.
The TDR promotes amateur wrestling in eastern North Carolina and sponsors this award. “The awards are to recognize great wrestlers from before and the current ones for their efforts,” Editor Martin Fleming noted. The TakeDown Report has promoted scholastic wrestling for 18 years in North Carolina and encourages coverage of the sport. Contact the TDR at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://takedownreport.wordpress.com/ or ‘The TakeDown Report’ on FaceBook.
The ranking of all the wrestlers at 285 lbs. in the TDR Top 12. State Champion Kaleb Taylor of Rosewood and Medalist (3rd at 3A) Joe Sculthorpe of Topsail are the top wrestlers at this weight and have earned TDR Top 12 Plaques as being one of the best 42 wrestlers. With 14 weight classes that averages to 3 per weight yet the best 42 overall are selected. wrestler in eastern N.C. Sculthorpe takes the top spot with a stronger seasonal record and he defeated Taylor in their one head to head match this season.
|4||Norman Jaquel||Farmville Central||285||2A||10||31||12||0.721||3||w2|
|5||Willard, Zack||East Wake||285||4A||11||35||5||0.875||3||L2|
|8||Williams, Jamie||Northern Nash||285||3A||12||16||5||0.762||3||L2|
|10||Hill, Colby||South Brunswick||285||3A||12||28||8||0.778||2||L2|
The top 4 wrestlers ranked at the 220 lbs. weight class claimed TDR Top 12 plaques as being one of the best 42 wrestlers. With 14 weight classes that averages to 3 per weight yet the best 42 overall are selected. TDR Top 12 Plaque Awards to Ryan Ashley of Southern Nash, Meshack Smith of Northside H.S., Nathan Gilbert of West Brunswick, Anthony Brownridge of Holmes and Rayquon Jones of Rosewood.
The ranking of all the wrestlers at 220 lbs. in the TDR Top 12. State Medalist (3rd in 3A) Ryan Ashley of Southern Nash is the top ranked wrestler in eastern North Carolina at 220. Just behind him is Medalist (3rd at 2A) Meshack Smith of Northside H.S. In 3rd is Nathan Gilbert of West Brunswick who was undefeated going into the state tournament where he placed 5th. Anthony Brownridge of Holmes and Rayquon Jones of Rosewood are plaque winners in the TDR Top 12.
|1||Ashley, Ryan||Southern Nash||220||3A||12||42||5||0.894||2||3rd|
|2||Smith, Meshack||Northside (Jacksonville)||220||2A||11||32||6||0.842||3||3rd|
|3||Gilbert, Nathan||West Brunswick||220||3A||11||32||2||0.941||1||5th|
|8||Rose, Jonathan||West Johnston||220||4A||12||14||4||0.778||3||L2|
|9||Dale, Andrew||West Carteret||220||3A||11||40||9||0.816||4||L2|
|10||Lee, Bruce||White Oak||220||3A||11||22||8||0.733||3||L2|
|11||Laureigh, Patrick||New Bern||220||4A||11||22||10||0.688||3||w1|
|12||Willis, William `Alex`||Laney||220||4A||10||34||16||0.680||4||w2|
The top 4 wrestlers ranked at the 195 lbs. weight class claimed TDR Top 12 plaques as being one of the best 42 wrestlers. With 14 weight classes that averages to 3 per weight yet the best 42 overall are selected. State Runner-Up Isaiah Bookman of Beddingfield is the top ranked wrestler in eastern North Carolina at 195. Senior Medalists Evin Bellamy of North Brunswick and Thomas Thompson of Lumberton join him as a plaque winner in the TDR Top 12. Hunter McClelland of Knightdale is also included at this high level of recognition.
The ranking of all the wrestlers at 195 lbs. in the TDR Top 12. State Runner-Up Isaiah Bookman of Beddingfield is the top ranked wrestler in eastern North Carolina at 195. Senior Place winners Evin Bellamy of North Brunswick and Thomas Thompson of Lumberton are plaque winners in the TDR Top 12. Hunter McClelland of Knightdale is also included at this high level of recognition.
|2||Bellamy, Evin||North Brunswick||195||2A||12||40||2||0.952||1||4th|
|5||Brogden, Austin||South Granville||195||2A||12||44||5||0.898||1||6th|
|7||Helmick, Jonathan||West Carteret||195||3A||12||40||6||0.870||2||L2|
|8||Barbosa, Sam||Northside (Jacksonville)||195||2A||11||32||10||0.762||3||w2|
|9||Mcrainey, Daniel||West Brunswick||195||3A||12||31||9||0.775||3||w1|
|10||Martinez, Carlos||First Flight||195||2A||10||44||9||0.830||4||L2|
|11||Randolph, Justin||South Central||195||4A||11||32||10||0.762||3||L2|
|13||Smith, Andre||Eastern Wayne||195||3A||12||18||6||0.750||4||L2|
The top 3 wrestlers ranked at this weight class claimed TDR Top 12 plaques as being one of the best 42 wrestlers. With 14 weight classes that averages to 3 per weight yet the best 42 overall are selected.
State Champion Andrew Colborn is the top ranked wrestler in eastern North Carolina at 182. Senior State Runner-Up Juan Ramos of Swansboro and Bradley Skinner of Knightdale are also were awarded a plaque for being in the TDR Top 12.