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Avery Falls to Uwharrie Charter in 2024 North Carolina High School Dual Team Wrestling State Championship; Will Still Compete for Individual, Over-All State Team Title

By Tim Gardner

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s (NCHSAA) Dual Team Wrestling Playoffs were held January 26 through February 3 at various sites and concluded on Saturday in the Novant Health Field House at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

Uwharrie Charter claimed its second consecutive Dual Team State Championship with a 36-33 win against Avery County.  The schools have met in the last four dual team finals.  Avery won the first two (2020 and 2022) during that span. No tournament was held in 2021 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

This year’s championship was decided in the final match as Uwharrie’s Jaden Maness and Avery’s Connor Brewer wrestled with the Vikings leading 33-30. Maness earned a pin 39 seconds into the second period to give the Eagles the triumph and the state crown.

Lorenzo Alston at 150, Alek Millikan at 165, and Caden Bond at 175 all also claimed wins by pinfall for the Eagles. Alston pinned his opponent in just 13 seconds. 

Jack McArthur, who earned a 6-2 decision in the 144-pound class match, stopped a three-bout winning streak for the Vikings.

That propelled him to being named the match’s Most Valuable Performer.

For the Vikings, Cooper Foster at 113, Benjamin Jordan at 126, and Grant Reece at 132 all earned pinfall wins in the match.

Complete results of the match in each weight class were as follows:

285 – Grayson Hoilman (Avery County) over Devonte Harrison (Uwharrie Charter Academy) Decision 9-4

106 – Ethan Hines (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over Alexandero Ical Tuil (Avery County) Decision 9-2

113 – Cooper Foster (Avery County) over Caleb Saldana (Uwharrie Charter Academy) Fall 0:45

120 – Brennan Worrell (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over King Orvosh (Avery County) Decision 4-0

126 – Benjamin Jordan (Avery County) over Rick Riccardella (Uwharrie Charter Academy) Fall 1:21

132 – Grant Reece (Avery County) over Brandon Jordan (Uwharrie Charter Academy) Fall 0:54

138 – Kenneth Pritz (Avery County) over Jair Ulloa (Uwharrie Charter Academy) Fall 5:44

144 – Jack McArthur (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over Mason Bentley (Avery County) Decision 6-2

150 – Lorenzo Alston (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over Grayson Brown (Avery County) Fall 0:13

157 – Carson Robinson (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over Johnathon Gragg (Avery County) Decision 4-2

165 – Alek Millikan (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over Barrett Potter (Avery County) Fall 2:42

175 – Caden Bond (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over Maverick Mora (Avery County) Fall 0:39

190 – Cael Dunn (Avery County) over Michael Shropshire (Uwharrie Charter Academy) Injury 0:32

215 – Jaden Maness (Uwharrie Charter Academy) over Connor Brewer (Avery County) Fall 2:41

Avery was seeded second in the Western Regional Playoffs and defeated fifteenth-seeded Corvian Community and seventh-seeded Swain County in the first and second rounds. The Vikings then beat third-seeded Mount Airy to reach the regional finals, in which they then defeated top-seeded Robbinsville to earn the right to compete for the state title.

Uwharrie Charter won the Eastern Regionals by beating Rosewood and was the top seed in the state championship, while Avery was again seeded second.

The NCHSAA partnered with North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance to recognize two athletes from each State Championship event with the latter’s Sportsmanship Awards. The 2024 Dual Team Wrestling Championship Matches Sportsmanship Award winners were Reece of Avery and Jair Ulloa of Uwharrie Charter.

The Individual Western Regional Playoffs will be held at various sites on February 9 and 10 with the state championships to be held on February 16 and 17 at the Novant Health Field House in the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

In those playoffs, Avery hopes to rebound from this season’s Dual Team State Championship loss and duplicate what the Vikings have done the past four years –2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023–claim the Individual, Over-All State Team Tournament Championship.”

Avery currently has a sterling record of 31-2 during the 2023-2024 season.

“Losing in the state (dual team) finals was a bitter pill, but I hope the wrestlers respond by being more motivated and driven for the next goals of the season (to win individual and the over-all team state championships),” said Avery head coach Matthew Dunn to the High Country Press.

Avery has already won more individual, over-all team wrestling championships and more of such consecutively than any 1-A school since the NCHSAA began crowning a State 1-A Individual, Over-All Team Championship team in 2010, instead of a 1-A, 2-A combined Individual, Over-All State Championship Team as it had since 1987. The Vikings can match 4-A Cary and 3-A T.W. Andrews as the only schools to win five straight individual, over-all state titles in any of the state’s four classifications during that later 38-year span if the Vikings win the crown again in two weeks.

Unlike the Dual Team State Championship Tournament, an Individual State Championship (and Over-all Team) Tournament was held in 2021 despite the Coronavirus Pandemic.