West Forsyth alum Denver Stonecheck finished as a runner-up Saturday in the NAIA National Championships, wrestling at 149 pounds for Life University.
Stonecheck, who graduated from West Forsyth in 2016, entered the tournament as a No. 10 seed but won four-straight matches to reach the championship bout, which came down to a 12-5 decision against Tres Leon of University of the Cumberlands (Ky.).
Stonecheck used a pair of escapes in the second period to pull within three points, but two takedowns, an escape and a point for riding time allowed Leon to keep his distance.
Stonecheck pinned his first-round opponent in the opening
period, then topped seventh-seeded wrestler Joseph Dominguez 10-3 before a 13-8
decision in the quarterfinals. Stonecheck trailed 7-4 against second-seeded
Shonn Roberts entering the third period, but Stonecheck rallied for nine points
in the final period, using a reversal, takedown and nearfall to take control of
Stonecheck then advanced to the championship match after scoring a takedown in the final minute of a 7-6 decision against No. 3 Tanner Abbas. Abbas took a brief 6-5 lead with an escape, but Stonecheck’s takedown with 58 seconds left in the match secured the win.
Stonecheck won a state championship for West Forsyth in 2016 in the 138-pound weight class.