Sending more than half its wrestlers into championship matches, North Central won its first conference championship in the sport by taking Saturday’s Region 3-AA tournament in Columbia.
Jason Brazell’s Knights finished the day with 171 points to edge second-place Keenan which had 161. Defending conference champion Columbia was next with 154 points followed by Pelion and Eau Claire with 88 and 74 points, respectively.
The Knights, who will head to Powdersville for Saturday’s AA Upper State championship tournament, had four conference champions on Saturday including senior returning state qualifier Justin Witmore who won the 170-pound title. Sophomore Robert Hardin took the 126-pound division while a pair of freshmen, Mason Gomez and Zack Anderson, won the championships at 113 and 138 pounds, respectively.
Four Knights finished second including freshman Ricky Hinson at 120 pounds, junior Tyler Small (152), freshman Deaunte Samuels (182) and 220-pound senior David Martin. Finishing in third place for Brazell’s troops were freshman Hunter Covington (106), sophomore John McCluster (132) and senior Luke Leigh at 195.
Rounding out the state individual qualifiers for NC, with fourth-place finishes, were freshman Austin Thompson (145) senior Mylaquin Belton (160) and freshman heavyweight Kalid Belton.