Great Competition In NCHSAA State Wrestling; Championships Set


GREENSBORO — The North Carolina High School Athletic Association state wrestling championships at the Greensboro Coliseum rolled through its second day of action on Friday, concluding Friday night with semifinal matches in all classifications.

Winston-Salem Parkland, which placed two wrestlers into the 4-A championship round and still has nine competitors in the event, enters the final day with 98 points, 15 ahead of second-place Fayetteville Jack Britt. Parkland nipped Britt two weeks ago for the NCHSAA dual team championship.

Defending tournament champion Pinecrest is third with 65 points, followed by Huntersville W.A. Hough (53.5) and Lake Norman (53).  A total of 73 4-A teams qualified wrestlers to the state event.

Parkland, which has won five titles in the last six years in this event, has Jeremy Ward at 132 pounds and Marcus Cross at 145 wrestling for state titles. Ward will take on Southern Alamance’s Jake DeAngelo, who is unbeaten in 51 matches this season, in what should be a great final.

Lake Norman’s Cody Karns goes into the 120-pound 4-A championship with a 50-0 record and Scotland Nick Kee is a whopping 59-0 going into the 170 final.

Defending tournament Orange holds a substantial lead in the 3-A standings, but has nine wrestlers remaining in the competition, including four in the championships. Orange has 97.5 points to 68 for second-place Concord Jay Robinson. North Gaston is third with 59.5, followed by Hickory St. Stephens (47) and Enka (42.5).

There are 81 3-A schools represented in the championships.

Orange is in great shape with four Panthers in the finals: Joe Scott (106), Jack Twomey-Kozac (138), David Peters-Logue (160) and Aubrey Browning (182). Southwestern Randolph’s Jordan Billings enters the 170-pound final with a perfect 53-0 record.

The 2-A team race is extremely tight, with several proven contenders in the hunt. Newport Croatan, winner of the tournament in 2010 and ’11 and state dual team runners-up this year, has 78.5 points, with defending champ Trinity in second with 75.  Newton-Conover, this year’s dual team champion, is third with 72, followed by Hampstead Topsail (54) and Catawba Bandys (52). Both Croatan and Newton-Conover have seven wrestlers alive, with Croatan placing two in the finals and the Red Devils one.

A total of 66 2-A schools have wrestlers in the tournament.

One big 2-A championship will occur at 145 pounds, with unbeaten Josh Stephens of Chase (50-0) against Michael Elliott of Ashe Central (45-1).  Mitchel Langford of North Henderson is a perfect 50-0 entering his 106-pound final.

In the 1-A classification, another close race is looming.  Ayden-Grifton is in first place with 62 points, followed by North Rowan with 55.5. North has nine wrestlers still competing to seven for A-G, but only three in the championships to four for Ayden-Grifton.  Hendersonville is in third place with 51 points, followed by three-time champion West Wilkes (48.5) and Robbinsville (48). There are 35 1-A schools represented in the tournament.

Leading the way for Ayden-Grifton into the championship round will be Brandon Armstrong at 120 pounds and then strength at upper weights with Jorge Martinez at 170, Diego Martinez at 182 and Justin Brown at 285. Nick Quillen of Rosewood has one of the best records among 1-A grapplers with a 58-1 mark entering the 126-pound title bout.

The 2-A, 3-A and 4-A competitors began wrestling on Thursday night, with the 1-A class starting on Friday afternoon since it has fewer wrestlers in the field.

Action will begin at nine o’clock Saturday morning with third round consolation matches in the 2-A, 3-A and 4-A classifications and the first consolations in 1-A, followed by several rounds of consolation matches in all classes.

After the fifth and third-place bouts, the championship matches in all classifications are scheduled for Saturday evening, starting at 5 p.m. with the Parade of Champions.