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Rebels win Regional title

VALE — Perhaps the third time is the charm for the West Lincoln Rebels wrestling team, which captured its third-ever 1A/2A Midwestern regional title on Saturday.
“We had a good weekend and everyone wrestled hard,” West Lincoln head coach Butch Ross said. “All 12 kids scored some points and it was a good team effort.”
The Rebels edged out Mt. Pleasant 142-128 for the championship on their home turf and needed every point they could get out of the 12 wrestlers, six of whom qualified for the state competition, which begins next Friday at the LVJMC complex in Winston-Salem.
“They worked hard and were disappointed when they lost to Ledford in a close match during 2A dual teams competition,” Ross said.
Determination and tradition are what drove the Rebels to a victory Ross said.
“I think they want to win and do well for the team,” he said. “Tradition-wise they know what’s expected of them and they don’t want to be a team that loses.”
Ross said it doesn’t take much to motivate his wrestlers, some of whom have been in the wrestling program since the third grade and know what to expect.
“I think they came together and knew they were going to win it,” he said.
North Lincoln was the next highest Lincoln County finisher as the Knights finished 17th, scoring 42.5 points, but had two state qualifiers in Nate Smith (112-pound weight class) and Jake Nelson (125).
Lincolnton finished in 21st place just about rival East Lincoln. The Wolves will send Gene Goodson (152) to the state competition while no one from East Lincoln qualified.
Ryan Spivey (112), Tyler Smith (130), Taylor Barber (135), Brad Owens (145), John Navey (152) and Glen Self (171) all qualified for state for West Lincoln.
Spivey and Owens were regional champions in their respective weight classes.
Along with the confidence and the competition the Rebels have faced over the past two weeks, Ross said he expects his guys to work hard for a shot at state championship. The Rebels have not won a state championship since 2000.
“Each and every one of the six boys will have to produce points,” the Rebels coach said. “They don’t have to win a state champion (individually) to win (as a team) but they each individually need to score as many points as they can.”

by Michael Christopher

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