Troy Gregor is the top-ranked wrestler in the state at 120 pounds.The Hickory Ridge junior has his eye on a state title but some of his toughest post-season matches might come before he even reaches the state tournament.Local coaches believe that when it comes to 120-pound wrestlers, and its neighboring divisions of 113 pounds and 126 pounds, the South Piedmont 3A might be the most loaded conference in the state. Within the three classifications, there are four SPC wrestlers listed in the top two in Wrestling Retro Rankings, North Carolina’s online ranking system.“It’s funny that there’s that run at a couple weight classes,” said Central Cabarrus coach Ed Masterton. “It’s really packed in there. I haven’t seen anything like it.”At 120 pounds, Cox Mill senior Taylor Page is ranked No. 2 behind Gregor. Central Cabarrus junior Heath Gleaton is the top 113-pound wrestler and Concord senior Matt Herring is ranked second at 126 pounds.A couple of Kannapolis Brown wrestlers – freshman Nick Sexton, 113 pounds, and junior Richard White, 120 pounds – also are ranked in the top 10. Jonah Swinson, a Concord Robinson junior, is ranked in the top 10 at 126 pounds.When you consider the 3A Midwest region, in which SPC schools also will compete for a chance to qualify for the state tournament, it gets even tougher. The Midwest region, one of four regions in the state, dominate the same three weight classes.As of Jan. 24, at 113 pounds, the Midwest has seven wrestlers ranked in the top 10, claiming all of the top five spots. The Midwest has five wrestlers ranked in each of the 120- and 126-pound classes. The stiff competition isn’t anything new for the South Piedmont 3A wrestlers. A few of this year’s 120-pounders were all clustered together last year at 113 pounds.That’s the weight at which Gregor competed in 2011-12. He got hot at the end of the season and finished third in the state. But only a couple weeks before, he says he got complacent and finished third at the South Piedmont Conference tournament.Gleaton, who entered the tourney as the fifth seed, won the conference championship, defeating White in the title match. Neither one, however, finished in the top four at regionals, and consequently failed to reach the state tournament.This season, Gregor has just two losses, both to 4A wrestlers. He recently became the first Hickory Ridge wrestler in school history to log 100 career victories.In head-to-head competition, Gregor has the advantage over the rest of the South Piedmont wrestlers. He has close victories over both White and Gleaton (his only defeat of the season).“This year, I think I have a legitimate shot at a state title,” Gregor said. “The rankings say I do. Nothing is set in stone. I could be unranked by the end of the week. I just need to continue to wrestle hard.”Though he’s ranked first at 113 pounds, Gleaton has wrestled almost all of his matches at 120 pounds this season. He will likely wrestle at 113 pounds in the post season.All three of Page’s losses have come to Gleaton. White has wrestled only Gregor on a local level and lost a 4-2 decision. When Cox Mill wrestled A.L. Brown, Chargers coach Jimmy Meyers bumped Page up to 126 pounds, avoiding White, and increasing Cox Mill’s chances of earning team points.At 126 pounds, Herring may be the favorite in the SPC but he may get tested by Swinson, Hickory Ridge’s Austin Helm, a junior, or A.L. Brown’s Avery Clinding, who wrestled his first matches of this season in mid-January due to an injury. Clinding was a state qualifier as a freshman last year at 106 pounds.Kannapolis will host the SPC tournament on Feb. 9. The 3A Midwest regional will be held Feb. 22-23 at Hickory Ridge. The state championships will be on Feb. 28-Mar. 2 in Greensboro.
Monday, Feb. 04, 2013
Hickory Ridge’s Troy Gregor ranks No. 1 among 120-pound wrestlers
Troy Gregor ranks No. 1 in his division
Hickory Ridge's Troy Gregor, left, and Cox Mill's Taylor Page square off in a match Jan. 29 at Cox Mill. Both are strong contenders to reach the 3A state wrestling tournament. JOE HABINA