Bandys, the No. 1 team in the state, came away with the individual regionals title held at Newton-Conover Friday night.
The Trojansâ€™ 148 points, bested Mt. Pleasant (125) and the host Red Devils (123). West Lincoln finished with 83 points for fourth place and South Iredell had 75.
112- Matt Whittle (4-1) placed third, lost one-point match versus defending state champ from Newton-Conover Josh Webster.
140- Matt Avery (4-1) also placed third and tied the school record at 154 career victories shared with last yearâ€™s state heavyweight Antonio Rojo. Avery beat Kyle McGarity from West Stanley in the consolation finals.
145- Tyler Wilfong (3-1) placed second, losing a 14-5 decision to Bandysâ€™ Colt Howell.
171- Randall Neal placed second (3-1), losing to Forest Hillsâ€™ Robby Blount.
Rebelsâ€™ head coach Butch Ross was pleased with his teamâ€™s effort against such stout competition.
â€œWe had a good region and the boys wrestled hard, came through with some key wins there to place fourth in a real tough region,â€ he said. â€œThe top six teams, all ranked in the top 10 in the state at the 2A level, out of a field of 30 teams were there he added.
Avery, who placed second in the state his freshman year and sixth his junior year, has impressed Ross with his unselfishness.
â€œOne of the biggest things Matt did was be a good team leader and captain. He didnâ€™t worry as much about the record as he did the team. What better place than to try to break it than the state tournament,â€ Ross asked. â€œHeâ€™s had a real good career. To be able to tie Antonioâ€™s record, says a whole lot because of all the things Antonio accomplished at West Lincoln,â€ he added.
With Whittle, Avery, Wilfong and Neal all advancing to the 1A/2A State Wrestling competition to be held this Friday and Saturday at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Ross is expecting more of the same.
â€œYou end up changing gears. Everything is geared toward dual season for the last two weeks. Then you switch from the team concept to the individual concept. Itâ€™s up to each individual whether they go on or they donâ€™t,â€ he explained. â€œIf they lose two matches, their season is over,â€ he added.
112- Derrick Hanks placed fourth in the regionals with a 3-2 record. Hanks was state runner-up in the 103-weight class a year ago.
by John Mark Brooks