Charlotte Latin Hawks took their regular-season success into the CISAA wrestling tournament and won the event going away with 233 points Thursday at the Mosack Athletic Center at Providence Day.
The host Chargers came in second with 148.5 points with Charlotte Country Day finishing third with 83 points. Cannon School, competing for the first time in wrestling, finished fourth with 76 points. Charlotte Christian rounded out the field with 35.5 points.
The Hawks snared ten of the 14 weight class titles, with three second-place finishes and one fourth-place finish. Latin will be a strong favorite to take the NCISAA state championships to be played Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20 at Christ School in Asheville.
Latin’s CISAA tournament victory was a fitting finale for 26-year wrestling coach Richard Fletcher, who will retire as coach following the state playoffs.
“We are thrilled,” said Fletcher. “We were trying to get 12 first-place finishes and ended up getting ten, so we are absolutely thrilled.”
The Hawks wrestling team had additional motivation to win the tournament Thursday, as Latin wrestler Tyler Cockerham passed away this past December after battling leukemia. The Hawks season has been dedicated to him.
“It was a hard loss for the team,” said Fletcher. “The recovery has been a long process and we’re not there yet. We have dedicated the season to him and hopefully we can go out on top.” (winning the state championship)
Latin individual weight-class winners included Michael McClelland at 106 pounds, Ryan Schellpfeffer at 113 pounds, Sam Turner at 120 pounds, Kase Mermans at 132 pounds, Foard
Naumann at 138 pounds, Ryan Ensor at 160 pounds, Tyler Henry at 170 pounds, Will Borin at 182 pounds, Jacob Sossoman at 220 pounds and Harrison Karp at 285 pounds.
Providence Day has three first-place weight-class winners including Austin Stegall at 145 pounds, Gil Gerber at 152 pounds and Jake Cohen at 195 pounds. The other first-place weight class winner was Country Day’s Max Spada at 126 pounds.
Borin, a Latin senior who finished the regular season with a record of 30-4, talked about the positive influence Fletcher had on his career. “Coach Fletcher has been a father figure in wrestling in my entire career,” he said. “He’s helped me to work through some problems in school. He has not only made it (the atmosphere) a family but he’s made it something to carry me through high school and I thank him for that.”
THEY SAID IT
“This is my 11th year as an assistant with Richard (Fletcher). I’ve here; and been through a lot of the battles together, and we’ve grown this program together. I don’t think there will be much change other than to build on the success that we’ve had. It’s a dream situation and a dream school.” Hawks Co-Coach David Paige who will take the solo head coaching job following Fletcher’s retirement after the state playoffs.”