Hard to pin down: Bobcat wrestlers win 5 state titles, Aynes is coach of year
By Scott Loftis
LITTLE ROCK — The Berryville High School wrestling program is still relatively young, but the Bobcats are quickly becoming a forced to be reckoned with in the state of Arkansas.
On Saturday, the Bobcats won five individual state championships at the Arkansas state wrestling tournament at the Jack Stephens Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Freshman Caleb Record at 106 pounds, sophomore Dominic Henry at 113 pounds, senior Cesar Martinez at 132 pounds, senior Christian Lemus at 182 pounds and junior Colton Record at 285 pounds all brought home state titles for Berryville. In addition, coach Derrek Aynes was named Coach of the Year.
“It’s a pretty special feeling,” Aynes said Monday. “It’s not going to happen very often.”
Although Pulaski Academy edged out Berryville by three points for the team title in Class 1A-4A, Aynes said the five individual state championships were the most in program history for the Bobcats. Berryville also had a pair of state runners-up in sophomore Dylan Sperduto at 120 pounds and junior Brett Parsons at 145 pounds. Junior Carlos Escobar placed fifth at 152 pounds and junior Daniella Villegas was sixth at 126 pounds.
“We have a great group of kids,” Aynes said. “They worked their tails off all year and it showed out at the state tournament.”
Caleb Record won his first two matches by pin at 106 pounds, then beat Shiloh Christian’s Jacob Solomon in the championship match. Henry won all three of his matches by pin, including a victory over Gentry’s Lee Roberts in the final at 113 pounds.
“He really wrestled well,” Aynes said of Henry. “He was a No. 1 seed but he’s new to wrestling and I wasn’t quite sure if he was up to it. But he really wrestled tough.”
At 120 pounds, Sperduto won two matches by fall and one by decision before losing the championship match by decision to Glen Rose’s Dusty Reasons.
Martinez won three matches by pin at 132 pounds, beating Ryan Heron of Southside Batesville in the championship match.
Parsons, who finished as a state runner-up for the second consecutive year, won his quarterfinal match by decision and his semifinal match by pin before losing by pin to Glen Rose’s Johnny Baldwin in the championship match.
Lemus, who won his first state title after finishing second twice and third once, won his first three matches by pin, then defeated Pulaski Academy’s Matthew Hugg by decision to win the 182-pound title.
Record, who was a state runner-up as a sophomore, rolled to the 285-pound title, winning three consecutive matches by pin. Record was voted the outstanding wrestler in 1A-4A.