Wrestler, Joe Mondragon wins James Johnson Award

05/19/2015

Carolina Beach Resident, Ashley High Wrestler, Joe Mondragon Receives James Johnson Award

Ashley High School wrestler and Carolina Beach Resident, Joe Montragon has been named by The TakeDown Report as the recipient of the 2015 James Johnson Award, recognizing him as the Most Outstanding Scholastic Wrestler in all of Eastern North Carolina.

The TakeDown Report is an on line publication that promotes amateur wrestling in Eastern North Carolina by reporting wrestling results and encouraging media coverage of the sport.

The James Johnson Award is named in honor of North Carolina native James Johnson who was a 3-time Greco-Roman Wrestling National Champion and Olympic Team Alternate during his 12 years on the USA National team.   Johnson was a coach for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and in 1976 was the first state champion for D.H. Conley High School in any sport.

Joe grew up in Utah, but in 2013 his family moved to the east coast where they landed in Carolina Beach and at Ashley High School.  Joe fell in love with the sport of wrestling in grade school, and his passion guided him to four consecutive state age-group titles from fifth to eighth grade.  In 2011 he earned All-American honors in Greco Roman style as he placed 7th in the USA Wrestling Cadet National Championships.

As a freshman in high school, Joe placed 2nd in the Utah state championships. He finished that season with a record of 52 wins and 8 losses.   He was unable to participate in the postseason his sophomore year but that season he had a record of 23 wins and no losses before his season ended.

As a junior at Ashley HS, Joe was undefeated going into the conference tournament but had missed the previous month of wrestling due to an insect bite that became infected and required his hospitalization and treatment with strong antibiotics.  He resumed training just a day before the conference tournament where he sustained his first loss in the finals, losing to a wrestler that he had beaten previously 7-0.  Nevertheless, Joe went on to place 2nd in the East Region and earned 5th place in the NCHSAA State Championships.  Despite missing a full month of wrestling he still completed his first season at Ashley HS with a record of 25 wins and 4 losses.

This year, Joe was Mid-Eastern Conference champion but in the regional finals he suffered a severe ankle sprain that contributed to a 6-1 loss in the finals match.  Despite suffering from the effects of the ankle injury, Joe won four straight matches at the NCHSAA 4A State Wrestling Championships, taking the gold medal with a 4-3 decision in his final match.  Joe finished the season with 48 wins and only 2 losses.  His 2-year record at Ashley HS high school is 73 wins and 6 losses and he completed his high school career with an overall record of 148 wins and 14 losses.  Joe also established new records for Ashley High School for the most wins in a single season, 47, and the most pins in a single season, 34. 

This past spring Joe was selected to the “All Area Wrestling Team” and was named the “All-Area Wrestler of the Year” by the Wilmington Star News and the top ranked 132 lb. wrestler in Eastern North Carolina by The TakeDown Report.