UCA gives strong battle, falls in 1-A final

Uwharrie Charter Academy’s Grayson Roberts works for a takedown against Avery County’s Bradley Parker at 160 pounds Saturday.

GREENSBORO – Uwharrie Charter Academy came within a couple of matches of claiming a state championship in dual team wrestling.

The Eagles rallied at times but ultimately came up short in a 39-30 loss to Avery County in the Class 1-A championship meet Saturday afternoon at the Fieldhouse at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

Avery County picked up its second straight state championship.

For UCA, it was a memorable experience.

“I thought the kids performed outside of their minds,” coach Chris Waddell said. “I thought they did great. I wasn’t looking at anybody’s performance with anything but positivity.”

The Eagles won five consecutive bouts to turn a 15-0 deficit into a 24-15 lead. But Avery County countered by winning the next five matches before a forfeit in the last weight class on the docket.

The meet began at the 138-pound weight class, with Avery County winning the first three matchups.

UCA’s run began with Grayson Roberts delivering a 6-4 decision against Bradley Parker at 160. Doug Bowles pinned Seth Blackledge in 5:14 at 170, Jayden Maness flattened Lane Hoilman in 3:34 at 182, Aiden Carter stuck Brandon Cabrera in 2:52 at 195 and Jaden Marion notched a 4-0 decision against Zach Vance at 220.

The only other points for UCA came when Aldo Hernandez was awarded a forfeit at 132 after the team outcome had been determined.

Avery County’s Kenneth Pritz was selected as the meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestler based on a pin of Aiden Allred in 1:33 of the 120-pound bout.

UCA (35-1) could be built for the long haul. There were just three seniors in the 14-wrestler lineup used Saturday.

“One of the funnest teams I’ve ever coached,” Waddell said. “We’re mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores. For them to be in this environment and do what they did was great.”

UCA won four times to advance to the final. That included capturing the East Regional semifinal by 45-40 against Pamlico County on Wednesday and later that day defeating host Rosewood 44-34.

In Class 2-A, Trinity’s title bid ended in the regional final. A 38-33 triumph against Newton-Conover in the West Regional semifinal was followed by a 33-31 loss to host Bandys.

Palma places second in girls

UCA’s Jazmin Palma was the runner-up at 114 pounds in the state girls’ invitational, a two-day event that concluded with Saturday’s finals at the Fieldhouse in Greensboro.

Palma posted three pins to reach the championship match. There, Mt. Airy’s Hope Horan recorded an 11-3 decision against Palma.

Palam advanced by pinning Lumberton’s Teresa Canady, Overhills’ Liliana Lizard and Cherokee’s Jaylynne Esquivel.

Regionals set

Individual regionals will be held Friday and Saturday, with berths in next week’s state tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum up for grabs.

For Class 3-A, Asheboro’s qualifiers will go to the Midwest Regional at Eastern Guilford.

For Class 2-A, entrants from schools in the Piedmont Athletic Conference are assigned to the Midwest Regional at the Cabarrus County Arena.

For Class 1-A, UCA and Eastern Randolph wrestlers head to the East Regional at Rosewood.

By Randolph Record