GREENSBORO | The championship match did not go as easily for Havelock wrestler Destin Flloyd as the semifinal did, but the result was victory nonetheless.
Flloyd won 4-3 in the title match in ultimate overtime over Frankie Miller of Corinth Holders to become the second Havelock wrestling state champion in as many years.
He previously had pinned South Iredell's Cameron Miller in just 39 seconds.
In the final, the battle between the 285-pounders was a test of who could ultimately ignore the physical exhaustion longer than his opponent.
“That was one of the hardest matches I’ve ever been a part of,” said Flloyd. “We’re best friends,” Flloyd said of Miller, “and we knew we had to give it our all on the mat, and I came out on top.”
The first period ended 0-0, as Flloyd and coach Chase Holleman waited for their opportunity to go on the offensive.
"We let the guy (Miller) control us a little bit, and we used it to our advantage," Holleman said. "We just bided our time and waited for the right time to score."
The slow and deliberate approach continued into the second period, and with 1:43 left, Flloyd escaped giving him a 1-0 edge. The tables were evened in the 3rd period, when with 1:45 left, Miller escaped from Flloyd, sending the match into the first of three overtime periods.
Neither opponent was able to post any points in the first overtime, though Flloyd was given a stalling warning with 17 seconds left. Both opponents had takedowns, but each was ruled out-of-bounds. During the first 30-second period of the second overtime, Miller came out quick, getting a 3-1 edge on Flloyd with a reversal. Flloyd quickly responded with an escape, closing the gap to 3-2, and followed with an escape in the second 30-second period, tying the match 3-3.
Both wrestlers entered the ultimate overtime at the limits of their physical endurance, though it was Flloyd who had just enough left to secure the win. Flloyd elected to start in the down position, and 8 seconds into the period, Flloyd escaped, putting him at 4-3, making him the state champion.
Flloyd had fallen short of a state title his sophomore and junior seasons.
"He made it to state his sophomore year, made it one round from placing, lost in the blood round," Holleman said. "His junior year he won regionals, got to blood round again, and lost. This time around, everything we've worked for during the offseason, during the season, this kid is great, he's got a heart of gold. He's a heck of listener, and he's an awesome kid. I couldn't be more proud."
After the official raised Flloyd's arm in victory, he was embraced by friends and coaches. There were tears of joy, and what was evident as all those people looked on to Flloyd, it was impossible not to notice how much pride and respect they felt for the young man. That respect is not lost on Flloyd.
"What pushed me to win was the city of Havelock," Flloyd said. "All my friends and family who have rooted for me this whole time, I couldn't have made it to a state championship without them. All my coaches and teammates kept instilling in me that I could do it, and I had to do it for them."
Sports Editor Jordan Honeycutt contributed to this report.