UCA wrestlers head for title rematch with Avery County

UCA’s Alec Millikan works against North East Carolina Prep’s Anthony Cairo during a 152-pound match in the state duals last weekend. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

Uwharrie Charter Academy’s wrestling team will try again against Avery County with a Class 1-A dual team state championship on the line.

The teams meet Saturday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum’s field house in a rematch of the 2022 title meet.

UCA (35-0) has blown through most opponents, while Avery County (27-7) had stiffer tests to reach this stage again.

These teams are familiar competitors in the finals. UCA won the 2019 title before Avery County topped the Eagles for the 2020 crown. There wasn’t a tournament in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Avery County won 39-30 against the Eagles last February. UCA also carried a 35-0 record into last year’s clash with the Vikings.

UCA and Avery County were host schools for the first and second rounds and then travelled for Wednesday’s third and fourth rounds.

Competing at Rosewood, UCA topped Pamlico 51-9 and Thomasville 51-29. At Swain County, Avery County defeated Mount Airy 45-33 and overcame Robbinsville 39-34.

In the regional final against Robbinsville, Avery County had only six wrestlers in the lineup who had competed in the state championship. One of the newcomers is coach Matthew Dunn’s son, 170-pound freshman Cael Dunn, whose pin in the final bout reserved another spot in Greensboro for the Vikings.

In the first round last Saturday, Avery County sophomore 106-pounder Cooper Foster reached the 100-win mark for his career.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. At the same time, the Class 3-A final between Union Pines and Fred T. Foard will take place on another mat.

The Class 2-A final – Bunn vs. Newton-Conover – and the Class 4-A final – Wilmington Laney vs. Northwest Guilford – are scheduled for 4 p.m.

Aside from UCA, only Northwest Guilford (33-0) is undefeated among teams competing Saturday.

By Bob Sutton