Athletes often talk about their fight or battle to win a game, meet or conference title. In wrestling, the participants actually live it. Hundreds of wrestlers in Cabarrus County went to hand-to-hand combat this winter to prove they were the best.
So who is the best? From the 103-pounders to the heavyweights to the coaching staff, here is a look at what we think.
All-Cabarrus News team
Wrestler of the Year:
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Dominic Parisi, Jay M. Robinson.
Dominic Parisi has dominated the state of North Carolina for most of his high school career. After going 55-9 in his freshman campaign, Parisi won his next 139 consecutive matches, including two individual state championships, up until midway through his senior season. But this year, Parisi has been no slouch, as the senior Robinson wrestler is 46-2 going into the state meet with a chance at a third consecutive state title. Parisi also helped lead his team to the first team state title in school history in any sport.
Parisi plans to continue his wrestling career at Appalachian State, American or Virginia Tech. He gets a lot of his wrestling genes from his father, Robinson head coach Dave Parisi, who was also a high school and college All-American in New York.
Coaches of the Year:
Dave Parisi, Jay M. Robinson and Greg Hinson, Mount Pleasant.
In wrestling, Dave Parisi has nearly done it all. As a high school wrestler in New York, he won a state championship. In college, at Oswego State, he became an All-American wrestler and won a Division III national championship. For the last four seasons, he has helped transform Jay M. Robinson and his son, Dominic, into a state power. This year, Parisi guided the Bulldogs to a 37-2 record and a 3A state dual championship.
While Robinson received most of the headlines in the South Piedmont Conference (SPC), Mount Pleasant coach Greg Hinson and his team kept doing what they do best: winning.
Hinson, who won his 300th career match earlier this season, also guided the Tigers to their 11th-straight conference title when his team shocked Robinson in the conference tournament title match by just more than a point (188.5 to 187). Hinson did all this in his team's first year in 3A, as the previous 10 conference championships were in 2A.
103 pounds - Hamilton Jones, Robinson: Spark plug for Bulldogs edges Cox Mill's Taylor Page.
112 pounds - Garrison White, Robinson: 3A regional champion looking for more at states.
119 pounds - Dominic Parisi, Robinson: Two-time defending state champion has done it all.
125 pounds - William Johnson, Northwest Cabarrus: Beat Robinson's Jay Similton to win regionals.
130 pounds - Caleb Swinson, Robinson: One of the eight Bulldog state qualifiers.
135 pounds - Lucas Dutch, Northwest Cabarrus: SPC wrestler of the year will have a shot at state title.
140 pounds - Nathanael Torrence, Concord: Spiders only state qualifier.
145 pounds - Jacob Eldridge, Robinson: Another Bulldog regional champion.
152 pounds - Clayton Eudy, Mount Pleasant: Fourth-place regional finish gives him a shot at states.
160 pounds - Blake Harwood, Mount Pleasant: Second in the Midwest region, one of the Tiger's best.
171 pounds - Christian Carrillo, Mount Pleasant: One of four state qualifiers, helped knock off Robinson in tournament final.
189 pounds - Taylor Overcash, Northwest Cabarrus: Third in the region and will have shot at states.
215 pounds - Dylan Pinnix, Northwest Cabarrus: One of the Trojan's best on a deep team.
285 pounds - Jordan Taylor, Robinson: Just edged Hickory Ridge's Josh Chapman with regional meet performance.