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Clayton places second in state after dropping OT challenge

South Boston News
Bluestone’s Neil Clayton Jr., third from right, won runner-up at this year’s VHSL 2A State Wrestling Championships in the 220-pound division. / February 26, 2020
The Bluestone High School wrestling team had three grapplers quality for the VHSL 2A State Wrestling Championships at the Salem Civic Center, Feb. 21-22, with returning 220-pound champion Neil Clayton Jr. looking to defend his 2019 title.

Clayton won his first match by way of a first period pin. The Baron wrestler was then paired with a previous state champion in the semifinals. Clayton won that match 2-1 with a last-second takedown at the end of the match allowing him to advance to the championship match.

In the championship round, Clayton met the same wrestler he defeated last season for the state title. Clayton led late in the third period but his opponent was awarded an escape point right at the end of the match, taking matters into overtime.

Halfway into the one-minute period, Clayton was taken down, ending the match with a 6-4 loss in sudden victory (overtime). Clayton finished the tournament as the State Runner-up in the 2A 220-pound weight class.

Clayton completed his wrestling career as a two-time state finalist and the 2019 220-pound state champion, becoming the first Bluestone wrestler to win a state title.

Landon Lyles (152-pounds) and Hudson Moore (182-pounds) also competed at the state finals. Lyles and Moore had very tough draws in the tournament but still wrestled well despite being eliminated from competition Friday.

Coach Troy Moore commented on Clayton and his outlook for the 2020-21 season.

“He (Clayton) will be greatly missed and we couldn’t be prouder of him,” Moore said. ”Landon Lyles and Hudson Moore will both be back next season and ready to earn their spot at the state tournament again.

“Each year this program adds to its success. This was a great season and we look forward to what may come of the 2020-21 Baron Wrestling season.”

Moore said he was appreciative of his assistant coach and all those that supported the wrestling program this season.

“I’d like to thank Coach Jayson Cody, who brought a vast amount of wrestling knowledge and experience including four years of colleague wrestling,” Moore concluded. “His leadership was the cornerstone of the success our wrestlers had this season.

“Special thanks for all the support through this season from our wrestling families, fans, communities and media exposure. It is greatly appreciated.”

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