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Lake Norman returns to No. 1 at 4A West Regional wrestling meet

By Bill Kiser
Correspondent
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/16/21/24/AlSVi.Em.138.jpeg|152
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Alexander Central's Kevin Alanis, center, looks over at the referee as he keeps a hold on Hopewell's Clifton Pittman during their 220-pound semifinal match in Sunday’s NCHSAA 4A West Regional wrestling championships.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/16/21/24/zwJOx.Em.138.jpeg|277
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    A referee keeps close watch on the 113-pound semifinal between Lake Norman's Zac Rainess, bottom, and Hough High's Austin Powell during Sunday’s NCHSAA 4A West Regional wrestling championships at Hough High. Powell advanced to the finals.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/16/21/24/EmZCa.Em.138.jpeg|246
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    West Charlotte's Quintin Mikerson works to gain control of Vance's Jake Motsinger during their 132-pound semifinal match in Sunday’s NCHSAA 4A West Regional wrestling championships at Hough High.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/16/21/24/Wr8sd.Em.138.jpeg|197
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Hough High's Austin Powell celebrates his 113-pound semifinal with coaches Zack Rogers, left, and Tripp Rogers during Sunday’s NCHSAA 4A West Regional wrestling championships at Hough High. Powell advanced to the finals.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/16/21/24/1sD7Bm.Em.138.jpeg|203
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Ardrey Kell's Chris Mairson, right, works to gain a hold on A.L. Brown's Keechan Ware during their 220-pound match during Sunday’s NCHSAA 4A West Regional wrestling championships at Hough High.

CORNELIUS

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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