By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Thursday, February 27, 2014 —
The NCHSAA state wrestling tournament was held this past week and weekend at the Greensboro Coliseum. Six Stanly County wrestlers qualified for the tournament.
West Stanly’s Pavin Chunn was the lone representative for Stanly County in the 2A wrestling tournament as the number-three seed from the Midwest.
Chunn won his opening bout with Carrboro’s Hserti Ya via pinfall in 41 seconds, then suffered a 1:54 pinfall loss to the eventual state champion, Croatan’s Grant Hall.
Chunn then lost in the consolation round to Chase’s Sammy Peticos by decision 15-3.
Two Stanly wrestlers qualified in the 1A classification in the 106-pound weight class in South Stanly junior Cody Shields and Albemarle freshman Tate Plyler.
Shields started the tournament with a pinfall win in 4:40 over Starmount’s Jack McCormick, then took down the West’s number-two seed, Mount Airy’s Jacob Hogue, who had advanced with a first-round pinfall win in 2:53 over Plyler.
After a 5-4 decision over McCormick in the semifinals, Shields faced Robbinsville’s Irvin Portugal in the state finals, suffering a 5-0 decision loss. The South junior wrapped up the season 46-8 overall.
Plyler bounced back in the consolation bracket with an overtime win over McCormick 9-7, but was defeated by eventual third-place winner, Chatham Central’s Nick Daggett, by pinfall in 2:42.
Junior Sawyer Bartlett was the top-seed out of the East for South Stanly in the 182-pound division. However, Bartlett suffered a pinfall loss in 3:01 in his first match to the eventual fourth-place finisher, Hayesville’s Jacob Matheson.
Bartlett (38-12) bounced back for a win in the consolation bracket with a pinfall win in 3:36 over Clay Conley of Pamlico County but was pinned in the next round by Bishop McGuinness’ Nicholas Castellano.
At 160 pounds, South Stanly’s Josh Lewellen lost his first-round match to the eventual state champion, Bishop’s Frank DeLew. Lewellen (27-18) rallied in the consolation bracket with a pinfall win in 2:40 over Robbinsville’s Bobby Pruitt, then lost 2-0 to Mitchell’s Kagen Hoilman.
Albemarle senior Grant Plyler wrestled at 126 pounds, losing by pinfall to Cherokee’s Levi Swearagin and Swain County’s Christopher Miller.
“I am more than proud of the efforts of these three wrestlers as well as the entire team,“ South head coach Matt Gatien said.
“I am confident Shields and Bartlett will not only return next year but earn All-State honors.”
Albemarle head coach Daniel Coggins said that every wrestler “dreams of a state championship, but those are pretty rare and just to be in the conversation is a privilege. I am proud of their work ethic and dedication.”
Regarding Pavin Chunn, West head coach Philip DePasquale said, “Pavin’s improvement on the mat has been remarkable. As a third year wrestler it was impressive to see him not only qualify for the state tournament but to hang with the best in the state.”