On Saturday, the West Lincoln wrestling team advanced eight wrestlers to the Individual State Tournament in Winston Salem beginning Friday.
The Rebels competed in the Individual Regional Tournament at Newton Conover on Friday and Saturday. As a team, they finished second out of 30 teams behind Bandys.
At the 275 lb. weight class, Antonio Rojo claimed the Regional title pinning Patrick Leitner from Monroe in 2:15. Throughout the tournament, Rojo scored pins on all of his opponents.
John Harkey, Jeremy Pearson, and Zeb Elmore were Regional Runner-Ups for the Rebels after disappointing losses. Harkey lost 2-7 to conference foe Josh Webster of Newton Conover in the finals.
Pearson also faced a familiar opponent in the finals. He was defeated by B.J. Little of Bandys in the final seconds of the match 8-6.
In the 135 lb. weight class, Zeb Elmore wrestled Patrick McIntosh of Bandys for the third time this season. He was defeated 8-3.
Matt Avery and Dustin Hester won in the Consolation Finals of the tournament. Avery decisioned Darrius Little of Thomasville 6-3 to claim third place.
Hester was able to defeat Brad Southern of Forbush 8-6 in overtime. Earlier in the day, Southern had scored a major decision on Hester 11-1 to place him in the consolation bracket.
The Rebels also had two wrestlers to earn fourth place. Daniel Soto and Keane Steele wrestled in the consolation finals.
Soto was decisioned by Tony Scarlett of South Davidson 9-4. Blake Wood of East Rutherford defeated Keane Steele 5-1.
Coach Butch Ross was proud of his wrestlers. “We have a great number of wrestlers to take to the state tournament. The boys did a great job. They wrestled real well against a lot of tough guys.”
Coach Ross and his wrestlers will travel to Winston Salem to begin wrestling for the Individual State Championship on Friday at LJVM Coliseum. At that time, the Rebels will be looking for their first Individual State Championship since Billy Baker in 1987.
by Elizabeth Ross Carpenter