Another year, another conference title for Charlotte Latin’s wrestling team.
The Hawks picked up some key wins at the heavier weight classes to beat out host Providence Day and win their fifth consecutive Charlotte Independent School Athletic Association tournament Wednesday.
Latin won six of 14 weight classes and finished second in five others to score 180.5 points, 21 better than the Chargers (159.5). Charlotte Christian was third with 110 points, followed by Charlotte Country Day with 40.
“Providence Day has come on strong; they pushed us to the very end,” said Hawks coach Richard Fletcher, whose team is favored to win its third straight NCISAA state title and 16th overall at next week’s championship meet in High Point.
“We had it nearly tied up going into the final three matches, so we knew it was going to be tight. But we’ve got some really strong kids at the heavier weights.”
The Chargers, who have never won the CISAA tournament, appeared in good position to break through during the championship round’s early matches. They won five weight classes, and had a 3-1 advantage in head-to-head matches against Latin.
Providence Day wrestlers winning weight-class titles were Arthur Linne at 120 pounds, Gil Gerber at 126 pounds, Tanner Love at 138 pounds, Cam Love at 152 pounds and Bryson Spivock at 182 pounds.
That, along with a pair of second-place finishes, helped the Chargers build a two-point lead over the Hawks (123.5-121.5) with three weight classes remaining – two of those featuring head-to-head matchups between the two frontrunning teams.
However, Latin got pins from Nick Wilson over Providence Day’s Aaron Lipsitz at 195 pounds, and from Zach Carter over Shawn Ahuja at 220 pounds to put the Hawks ahead to stay.
Toby Okwara, the defending state champion at 285 pounds, then sealed another team title for Latin with an 8-0 major decision over Charlotte Christian’s Dalton Gouveia.
The Hawks also got weight-class titles from Billy McClelland at 132 pounds, Matthew Ensor at 145 pounds and Nick Boyd at 160 pounds.
Charlotte Country Day won two weight classes – Max Spada at 106 pounds and Akanimo Eyo at 170 pounds – while Charlotte Christian’s Thomas Pfeiler won the 113-pound title.
“I didn’t think this year would be it,” Chargers coach Terry Tadeo said. “(Latin) has an awesome team, an awesome program. They’re solid all the way through their team. They really don’t have any weaknesses. But one day, one day ...”
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