Mecklenburg County will have 30 representatives at the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s state wrestling tournament, which kicks off Thursday at Greensboro Coliseum.
Hough leads the way with seven of the county’s 27 4A state qualifiers.
Four Huskies, Tanner Russ (138 pounds), Jake Efird (152), Palmer Maples (170) and Charles Smith (182), won 4A West regional championships last weekend to lead the way. Three other Hough wrestlers, Austin Powell (106), Steven Owen (132) and Adam Nivens (145), also qualified for the tournament.
Myers Park 220-pounder Alexander Crockett and Independence 285-pounder Demetree Hardison also won regional titles.
Both will have a teammate accompany them to state. Myers Park’s Jose Cadena was the 113-pound regional runner-up, while Independence’s Brian Tiderman was third in the 195-pound class.
Other 4A qualifiers are: Butler’s Coby Bramhall (113) and Adam Pelter (126); Hopewell’s Gore Vaughn (182); Mallard Creek’s Ikeem Allen (285); North Meck’s Jalen Hill (132) and Marquel Thompson (170); Olympic’s Asher Goodwin (120) and Evan Patrick (220); Providence’s Ryan Keefe (106) and Nick Colucciello (170); South Meck’s Collin Stewart (113); Vance’s Jacob Motsinger (126), Josh Motsinger (138) and Drequan Williams (152); West Charlotte’s Antonio Patterson (126); and West Meck’s Javariuos Fleming (132).
Charlotte Catholic’s Billy Ferris (106), Danny Sardo (120) and Chase Hayes (152) will compete in the 3A tournament. All three were runners-up in their respective weight classes at the 3A West regional.
No county wrestler has won an individual state title since Butler’s Travis Puckett in 2008.
Other area teams also well represented
Some of the state’s dual-team champions – Newton-Conover (2A) and North Rowan (1A) – will have good numbers at the state tournament, giving the teams a good shot of also winning their respective classes’ tournament championships.
Newton-Conover qualified 10 wrestlers, including 2A West regional champions Austin Klutz (113), Coleman Carter (120), Franklin Wepner (132) and Nathan Reitzel (152), while North Rowan, behind regional champions Simon Connolly (106), Marc Gonzalez (113) and Damon Ellis (120), will have nine.
Lake Norman has eight state qualifiers, including undefeated 120-pounder Cody Karns (48-0), to vie for the 4A championship.
Cross-town rival Mooresville qualified five wrestlers, led by 106-pound 4A West regional champ Samuel Crisp, who is 47-3 on the season.
Alexander Central, behind 160-pound 4A West regional champ Tyler Reese, had six wrestlers reach the tournament, while Sun Valley had five qualifiers, including 4A Midwest 182-pound champion Michael Macchiavello.
East Gaston will have four wrestlers at the 4A tournament led by 126-pounder Jacob Grigg and 145-pounder Alex Ledford.
In 3A, Hickory St. Stephens (eight qualifiers), Concord Robinson (six), North Gaston (six), Gastonia Ashbrook (five) and state dual-team champion Newton Fred T. Foard (five) lead the area.
Monroe Piedmont, behind regional champions Dylan Nelson (160) and Parker von Egidy (182), qualified eight wrestlers to the 2A state tournament.