After two years of being second-best in the region, Lake Norman’s wrestling team can finally say they’re No. 1 again.
The Wildcats used their depth to hold off Alexander Central and win their first N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A West Regional title in three years Sunday at Hough High School.
Lake Norman advanced eight wrestlers – including four weight-class champions – to next week’s NCHSAA state meet in Greensboro, and finished the two-day regional with 180.5 points, 18 ahead of the Cougars (162.5).
Defending West Regional champ Hough won two weight-class titles and finished third, 14.5 points ahead of Kannapolis’ A.L. Brown (123-108.5).
This was the third regional team title in the past five years for the Wildcats, who won in back-to-back years (2010-2011) before finishing as runners-up the past two years – to Asheville’s T.C. Roberson in 2012 and Hough last year.
“This is the toughest region in the state, no question in my mind,” Lake Norman coach Tom Pavia said. “That’s what makes this extra sweet. We’re looking to do good things.
“Our boys had two really solid days. Some of our seniors had some disappointments and came up short, but I couldn’t be prouder of the guys on this team.”
However, Alexander Central – which won its last regional title in 2007 – did its part to make things close.
The Cougars had wrestlers still alive in 12 weight classes after Saturday’s opening rounds, and held a nine-point lead over the Wildcats (79.5-70.5). But Lake Norman had five wrestlers advance to the championship round, with four of them taking weight-class titles: Chase Kominek at 106 pounds; Logan Pavia at 138 pounds; Eddie McGrail at 160 pounds; and Ryan Devlin at 182 pounds.
Alexander Central had four wrestlers advance to the finals, but only two – Dustin Jones (195 pounds) and Kevin Alanis (220 pounds) – won their weight class.
“Lake Norman had it locked up about halfway through the finals,” Cougars coach Josh Williamson said. “We had it close, but lost a couple of close ones. They can score a lot of points, and we were lucky to hang with them.
“But we’ve got seven guys going to the state tournament. We’re going to go there and try to get some placers.”
Hough was the only other team to have more than one individual champion, with Austin Powell taking the 113-pound title and Jordan Thompson the 170-pound title.
Only one wrestler repeated as West Regional champ – Watauga’s Demetre Kostis, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler after he won his second title at 132 pounds.
Other weight-class regional champions were David Cline of J.M. Robinson (120 pounds), Adam Pelter of Butler (126 pounds), Carl Guess of South Caldwell (145 pounds), Josh Dula of McDowell (152 pounds), and Isaiah Jones of Berry (285 pounds).
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