INDIAN TRAIL The Porter Ridge Pirates didn’t let missing several days of practice this week due to the weather, or a quick turnaround detour them from claiming the Southwestern 4A Conference wrestling tournament Saturday afternoon at Porter Ridge.
The Pirates edged the Independence Patriots 182.5 to 169.5 to send Porter Ridge into the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs with momentum. Butler finished in third place with 126 points.
The playoffs begin Tuesday at a site yet to be determined. Independence will be the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs on the strength of winning the regular-season title, and the Pirates will be the No. 2 seed.
Seven Porter Ridge players advanced to the finals of the tournament, with three Pirates winning their matches. In the 106-pound division Chris Price pinned Joe Kenny of Myers Park in 3:08. In the 113-pound division Logan McMahan pinned Myers Park’s Carson Russell in 2:37, while Joey Bataglia earned an 11-4 decision over Carl Zeitler of Independence at 152 pounds.
Most of the Southwestern 4A teams had dual matches rescheduled from Tuesday to Friday night because of the snowstorm, with no practices in between because of schools being closed. Then each team had to jump right into the conference tournament less than 24 hours later.
McMahan decided to take matters into his own hands to be at his best.
“It was tough, especially with getting my weight down and making weight,” he said. “I actually went to a couple of club practices to stay in shape and keep my weight down. I got good matches in with different 113-pounders that are good, and I wasn’t practicing with people that I normally do.”
Price and McMahan were No. 1 seeds in their weight classes going into the tournament. Porter Ridge coach Randy Durbin was most happy for Bataglia’s win Saturday.
“Joey (Bataglia) lost to Carl Zeitler in the dual meet in the regular season, so today’s win was a very good match for him,” Durbin said.
Durbin knew his team faced a tough task in the tournament against the top-seeded Patriots.
“We had a very close dual meet (in the regular season); they beat us 39-33,” he said. “We knew we were going to go in there and it was going to be tough competition between the two schools. Butler had a real strong showing in the tournament, too.”
Senior Brian Tiderman (220-pound) from Independence was named the tournament’s “Most Outstanding Wrestler.” Tiderman also earned his 200th career victory Saturday.
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