By his own accord, John Ellis has some unfinished business at Havelock High School.
The senior wrestler in the 160-pound weight class is 29-5 on the year.
It isn’t all just personal for Ellis. He feels his team can go deep into the state dual playoffs. The Rams missed out on the duals last season and Ellis failed to place at the state championships.
“This year means the end of all that I’ve worked for since seventh grade,” he said. “It’s my last chance to leave a mark on the history of Havelock wrestling.”
The Rams are 14-2 on the season as a team, with the only losses coming to defending 2A state champion Croatan and 4A runner-up Jack Britt.
Ellis is ranked No. 4 in the 3A class according to retrorankings.com.
“Our team is so much better this year than we were last year,” Ellis said. “It says a lot that we haven’t lost to a 3A team and both losses are to state champs or runner-ups.”
First-year head coach Tommy Andrews has taken over for the departed Pat Whitford and still has grappling guru Chase Holleman by his side.
Andrews says that while he hasn’t had a long time to work with Ellis, he is impressed by the senior leader.
“John has a great work ethic and is determined to reach his goals,” Andrews said. “I don’t see any reason why he can’t make it to states and make a deep run.”
Ellis had those same state championship goals a season ago, but fell short. He notes a few improvements in his arsenal that he thinks will help him have a different result this go-around.
“I have gotten a lot better on my defense from bottom,” Ellis said. “Last year, people could hold me down a lot easier, but not this year. I am a lot better offensively on top too and have about eight moves I can use that are tough to get out of.”
Ellis and fellow senior Ryan Davis, who finished second at states last year, are the Rams’ best shots for individual championships.
Havelock is scheduled to host West Craven on Tuesday.
Jordan Honeycutt is a reporter for the Sun Journal.