The Union Pines wrestling team, after a short Thanksgiving break, was competing in full force on Saturday. Using the NCHSAA split squad provision, the Vikings sent wrestlers to two varsity tournaments, and both teams won their respective tournaments.

There were 12 Vikings at the Cold Turkey Invitational in Asheboro and 15 at the Jim Key Boys Invitational Tournament, competing in the same gym with the girls. Between the two tournaments, they came away with 11 champions, 24 top-four placements, and all but one competitor winning at least one match by fall.

At the Cold Turkey Invitational, the team finished first with 173 points, Asheboro was second with 153, and Southwestern Randolph was third with 133. Winning their brackets were Nathan Maness at 106 pounds, Tripp Sullivan at 157 pounds, Brock Sullivan at 175 pounds, and Dantrell Williams at 215 pounds. Tournament runners-up with weight classes were Aidan Enright, 113; Sam Fairel, 165; and Denton Orr, 190. Alex Soukup at 132 pounds and Tristan Payne at 138 pounds finished in third place. Payne had the fastest pin, 16, in the entire tournament.

Union Pines wrestling bring home hardware

Union Pines wrestling team at the Jim Key Invitational.

The top three teams at the Jim Key Invitational were Union Pines with 277, Green Hope with 128, and Central Davidson with 123. The Vikings won half of the 14 weight classes with champions as follows: Joe Lloyd at 126 pounds, Keaton Crawford at 132 pounds, Logan Mitchell at 138 pounds, Evan Thompson at 144 pounds, Finn McCafferty at 150 pounds, Dominic Blue at 165 pounds, and Nick Mascolino at 190 pounds. Finishing in second were Liam Myles, 106 pounds, Caiden McDermott 113 pounds, Houston Leeah 157 pounds, Elijah Bumgardner 132 pounds, and Chayden Hardy 215 pounds. Lucian Martin at 120 pounds and Wyatt Gayheart at 285 pounds round out the Viking placemats, finishing in fourth.

“A lot of teams struggle to fill weight classes and find coaches,” said Union Pines coach Brian Gray in a press release. “Obviously, we are not having those issues. I am so grateful for what we have at Union Pines with the numbers of kids that want to wrestle, all the parent support we get, the administration’s support, and the great help I have from coaches Soukup, Root, Martin and Blair.”

Feature photo: Union Pines wrestling team at the Cold Turkey Invitational. 

Contributed/Courtesy photos.

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