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HIGH POINT — Hall of Fame wrestling coach Andy Chappell returned to High Point Central’s main gym for the first time since 1995 on Monday.

He had been away since leaving Central for Ragsdale after six seasons and a year after going undefeated and winning the state 3A championship in 1994.

Chappell was on the opposing sidelines Monday as head coach of Ledford, where he is in his eighth season.

Before the match, which the Panthers won 45-30, Chappell was honored in a brief ceremony led by Bison coach Richard Herman, whom Chappell replaced at Ragsdale all those years ago. Herman made brief remarks about Chappell winning the state title and presented Chappell and his staff with “Bison Wrestling” T-shirts.

“This brings back a lot of memories,” Chappell said. “Some of this in here is different now. We used to practice behind the bleachers (on the second level). I had my first two kids while I was here.

“I remember we only had 15 kids on the state championship team. But boy they fought. I coached and taught a lot of them when I started teaching Ferndale before I was at Central. I taught and coached some of them a lot of years in a row. It all came together for us that season. I have a lot of good memories of this place.”

Chappell was appreciative of the invitation to have a match.

“We’ve been good buddies with Richard through all the years and it was nice for him to have us over,” Chappell said. “I wish had been under more friendly terms but it was good for him to notice us.”

Herman, who is in his fourth season at Central and has also coached at T.W. Andrews and Thomasville, wanted to bring Chappell back.

“We wanted to make it something special for him,” Herman said.

Herman’s regret is the match wasn’t tighter.

“Our numbers are down, maybe the worst they’ve been because of COVID,” Herman said.

Winners for the Panthers included Jake Cartrette by pin at 106 pounds, Connor Wishon by pin at 120, Landon Cartrette by forfeit at 132, Pasha Weisman by pin at 138, Lucas Edwards by decision at 145, Anthony Walls by pin at 182 and Christopher Buckman by forfeit at 220.

Central’s winners were Adam Nguyen by forfeit at 113, Isaiah Jimenez by pin at 126, Semaj Booker by pin at 152, Matt Wolff by pin at 160 and Joseph Sealey by pin at 170.

The night also included Central and Ledford wrestling a match each against Bishop McGuinness, which had just five wrestlers.

Ledford defeated Bishop 66-12 and Central defeated the Villains.

@HPEgreer | gsmith@hpenews.com | 336-888-3519