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The North Carolina High School Athletic Association's annual state wrestling championships are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, February 24-25, bringing together over 600 of the state's best prep grapplers for two full days of competition. Over 1,100 individual matches will be contested over the course of the event en route to crowning 42 different individual champions. That means there is one winner in each of the NCHSAA's 14 weight divisions and three different classifications, including 1-A and 2-A together for wrestling, 3-A, and 4-A.
Wrestling will start at 9 a.m. on Friday and will run until Saturday evening with the consolation and championship finals starting at 6 p.m. This is the 20th year that the wrestling championships have been "classified"; prior to 1987, all wrestlers, regardless of the size of the school, competed for a single title.
This is the fourth year that Lawrence Joel Coliseum has hosted the event. Wendy's and the Carolina Ford Dealers are the presenting sponsor for the state wrestling championships, and the event is sponsored by the Winston-Salem Sports Commission and the Winston-Salem Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The NCHSAA, with a strong tradition in wrestling, has been offering a championship in the sport since the 1930's.
Cary has won the team tournament championship at the 4-A level twice in the last three years, while Jamestown Ragsdale is the defending 3-A team champ. Catawba Bandys has won or shared the 1-A/2-A crown in each of the past two state tournaments.
Earlier this month, Davie (4-A), Eden Morehead (3-A), Bandys (2-A) and Alleghany (1-A) won their respective classifications in the dual team championships and will obviously be very competitive in the tournament.
Several wrestlers will be seeking their third consecutive individual state championship. Senior Byron Sigmon of Bandys at 160 and junior Chris Bullins of Mayodan Dalton McMichael at 171 are previous two-time champs in the 1-A/2-A tournament. A pair of East Gaston juniors, Jared Grigg at 119 and Justin Sparrow at 145, have qualified for the 4-A event.
Last year’s 3-A championship Most Outstanding Wrestler, Kyle Kanaga of Ragsdale, wrestles at 130 and is seeking his second consecutive state title.