High School Sports

Charlotte Latin captures fifth straight crown to cap coach Richard Fletcher’s career

Charlotte Latin coach Richard Fletcher’s streak of state wrestling championships ended on Saturday at Christ School, but not because his team lost.

The Hawks rolled past second-place Ravenscroft 271-184 to send Fletcher into retirement with his fifth consecutive NCISAA title, capping a career that saw Fletcher’s squads capture 12 North Carolina championships in 26 years.

“It’s a perfect way to go out,” Fletcher said after watching three Charlotte Latin individuals win titles and three more come in second. Michael McClelland (106-pound weight class) and Ryan Schellpfeffer (113) gave the Hawks championships in the first two matches of the day, and by the time Harrison Karp edged Calvin Atkeson of Ravenscroft at 285 in the tournament finale, Charlotte Latin had long since clinched the program’s 18th state title.

McLelland defeated Tristan Blake of Southlake Christian Academy 9-3, while Schellpfeffer dispatched Cade Spector of Cary Academy via technical fall.

Metrolina Christian Academy’s Donnie Coleman edged Ensor 10-6, while Conor Fenn of Asheville School pinned Tyler Henry to become the only the only wrestler in the state to finish the season undefeated. Fenn, who was 36-0, was named the NCISAA Wrestler of the Year.

DJ Washington of Ravenscroft pinned Jacob Sossamon.

Tyler Henry is the only senior among the Charlotte Latin finalists. The other five are juniors.

In all, Charlotte-area wrestlers captured 10 individual championships and had nine runner-up finishes. Other winners included Max Spada of Charlotte Country Day, who pinned Chapman Fitzgerald of Cary Academy at 126; Southlake’s Harrison Helms, who pinned Metrolina’s Coleman Johnson at 132; Zion Phifer of Providence Day, who took a major decision over Wesleyan Christian Academy’s Japheth Hampton at 138; Metrolina’s Daniel Hattaway, who pinned Cary’s Julian Sodano at 145; Providence’s Gil Gerber, who pinned Jared Hicks of Kerr-Vance Academy at 152; and Southlake’s Hunter Allen, who defeated Metrolina’s Daymond Turner 12-8 at 182.

Metrolina’s Jacob Hattaway lost to Cary’s Christian Sodano in the 120 final, while Wesleyan’s Ethan Cochran defeated Providence’s Jake Cohen at 195 when Cohen had to retire because of injury.