Porter Ridge wrestling avenged a regular-season loss to Independence by winning the Southwestern 4A tournament title by 6 points over the Patriots Saturday in the Pirates’ home gym.
This is Porter Ridge’s second consecutive conference tournament title.
The Pirates had wrestlers in the finals of nine of the 14 weight classes. Joseph Romaine (138 pounds), Billy Jack Cupp (152), Cooper Mueller (160), and Joey Battoglia (170) won individual titles for Porter Ridge, which finished with 172 points.
Porter Ridge’s Eli Tarlton won the consolation final in the 220-pound class.
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“We had nine guys in the finals, and each one of them wrestled as hard as they could,” said Porter Ridge coach Randy Durbin. “It was a total team effort through that stretch.”
Romaine said he and his teammates were motivated by the earlier loss to Independence, which won the regular-season conference title.
“It’s big because we lost the regular-season conference title, and it’s big to come in here and show up, wrestle smart, wrestle well and come out with the win,” he said.
Five of the finals matches were between Independence and Porter Ridge wrestlers. Independence won three of them, finishing with 166 points.
Heavyweight Russell Brown pinned Porter Ridge’s Brandon Nguyen; Independence’s Stuart Cochran (195) won a decision over Christian Villacres; and the Patriots’ Chris Jordan (145) won a decision over Trey Merritt.
“Any time that you have two teams that go at it like us it’s a good, tough competition,” Durbin said. “It only makes both sides better.”
The Patriots had a fourth individual champion in Tayshon Risher, who beat Rocky River’s Anthony Roberson to take the 182-pound class.
Butler finished third in the standings with 139.5 points and had four individual champions: 220-pounder Hayden Brown, Adam Pelter (132), Jared Onque (126) and Jacob Gallimore (106).
The N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team tournament starts Tuesday, and the individual regional tournament is Feb. 13-14.