Undefeated and in charge

Published 11:10 am Friday, January 17, 2014




Even during the heart of finals week, senior captain Devon Van Cura is one of the first people to walk through the double doors of Washington’s cafeteria for wrestling practice.

There is no coach.

Teams are only allowed to practice under the supervision of their captains due to exams, so it’s up to Van Cura to take the reins.

“He’s one of the ones I can always count on to start things up if I’m ever late,” said Head Coach Daniel Riggs. “He’s always one to stay after to do extra. He’s one of those leaders that a lot of coaches would like. You don’t usually have to yell at him to do something; he’ll get on it before you even have to tell him to get on it.”

But it’s not simply his leadership that has institutions like the Princeton University interested. Van Cura is a model student inside the classroom and a perfect 20-0 on the mats thus far.

Last season, Van Cura wrestled his way to first place in the 3-A Eastern Regionals, before falling in the semi-finals of the NC 3-A State Championship. This season, he believes he can improve upon last year’s performance.

“It’s really been my goal to be undefeated for the last few seasons,” said Van Cura. “Last year I thought I was going to make it happen. I only lost to one guy three times in the regular season. I was 38-3 at the end of that season.”

The young wrestler attributes his dominance of the mat to his coach and practice partner, senior Thomas Remick, who is also having the best season of his high school career with a 25-2 record. The dynamic duo has shared so much success, that their teammates are reluctant to drill with either of them in practice. As a result, Remick and Van Cura are forced to face off against each other day after day.

“Devon constantly attacks his guy. He’s really mechanical and precise,” said Remick. “He does everything perfect. When his condition is good, there’s really no one that should be able to beat him.”

A self-proclaimed baseball player at heart, the undefeated Van Cura spent his summer mastering his wrestling craft, attending camps at North Carolina State, Penn State and ECU. The hundreds of hours training have delivered a more focused product come tournament time.

During the Firebird Duals at Southern Nash High School last week, Van Cura was faced with his biggest test of the season. The matchup against Rosewood’s Josh Drew, a perfect 35-0, proved to be his toughest competition to date.

Van Cura came out on top, beating his opponent by decision, 12-5, and handing him his first loss of the season. Van Cura would remain perfect.

“I told the guys, I’d prefer them to not go undefeated, but I know it’s always their goal their senior year to go undefeated and win a state title,” said Riggs. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve rarely ever seen it. I’ve only had one that went undefeated and won a state title. I think a loss here and there for most people will make them realize what it feels like to lose, make them hungrier.”

Van Cura and the Washington wrestling team will have another tough test today at the Jolly Roger’s Invitational at Corinth Holders High School. If the team can place at this tournament, the chance of competing at a high level in the state tournament is very high, said Riggs.

When asked if Van Cura thought he could finish the season undefeated, he responded with one word.