To his teammates and a few select others, Rocky Mount High senior Alex Knight is known as ‘sparkle.’
The nickname doesn’t come from his bright smile, but the big grin he flashed Saturday while embracing his coach sure could have been the root of the moniker.
Rocky Mount defeated Southern Nash, 37-36, in the defacto Big East Conference dual team championship at Southern Nash High School to complete an undefeated conference season.
“I wanted to make sure I won it my senior year,” Knight said. “To win it last year and this year, it makes it a lot better. It feels good.”
Saturday’s Big East Conference Championship was played in a round-robin format, but both Southern Nash and Rocky Mount made it to the final team match unbeaten – knocking off all four opponents earlier in the day.
Saturday’s rematch of a Gryphons’ victory earlier in the season became the deciding match for the title.
When Jeffrey Person, who wrestled up a weight class, stepped to the mat for the 285-pound match, he knew that a pin would win.
He didn’t know it would come in just 10 seconds.
“I knew I had to go out and do it for my team,” Person said. “... I’d do anything for my team.”
Rocky Mount forfeited the final four matches to prevent possible injury and celebrated as a team with a chant of ‘Conference champs.’
“It (has) been a while since we really beat a good Rocky Mount team,” Southern Nash coach Eddie Coble said. “I feel really good about our effort. We wrestled really hard. Sometimes, we just didn’t wrestle real smart.”
Southern Nash defeated Rocky Mount last year, but the Gryphons rolled off a string of pins to secure another championship.
At 170 pounds, Anthony Battle began the third period tied, 0-0, but a quick near-fall and a 5-point surge gave him a victory.
Devante Ricks, Keyad Coley – who wrestled with an injured ankle – and Person followed with three pins to conclude the Gryphons’ perfect season.
“It helps when you start dealing with after conference,” Rocky Mount coach Jermaine Jones said. “It gives these guys some kind of pride. It makes them feel like they accomplished something.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or email@example.com