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A pair of Newton-Conover wrestlers earned individual state championships Saturday in Greensboro.
Senior Addison Klutz and sophomore Franklin Wepner both earned titles, the first since Andrew Tremain's state championship in 2010.
"It's an honor to be on the list of Newton-Conover state champions," Wepner said. "I would like to thank coach (Eddy) Clark and coach (Vallie) Murray. I'd also like to congratulate Addison for his state championship."
Klutz said he is thankful to those who helped pass along the rich tradition in the Newton-Conover wrestling program.
"I can never be more thankful for being brought up through such a strong wrestling program," Klutz said. "The tradition never ends because great kids practice with and teach rising freshmen so well. I can proudly thank the sophomores, juniors and seniors, who rubbed off on me so well over the years. I am honored to be able to represent them and my school in such an amazing way. Being a senior, the last effort to truly leave my mark was successful, and I can only hope that I have influenced other wrestlers in some ways to continue the Newton-Conover legacy."
As a team, the Red Devils propelled into fifth place in the final 2A standings with 80 points, behind the performances of Klutz and Wepner, as well as a third place by Ian Canrobert, a fourth place by Tyler Benfield and a deep run by Eric Holbrook in consolation.
Maiden was second among county teams in the final 2A standings with 43.5 points, guided by a state runner-up finish by 160-pounder Evan Spears. His finish at states is the highest for any Maiden wrestler ever.
Bandys finished just behind Maiden in 16th with 31.5 points, while Bunker Hill finished 47th with six points.
Tigers fall short of repeat
Trying to defend its 3A championship won at last year's individual championships in Greensboro, the Fred T. Foard wrestling team fell short of its goal.
The Tigers finished the NCHSAA 3A individual wrestling tournament with 39 points, good enough for 17th in the final rankings.
Among the top finishers for Foard were two fourth-place showings by Hayden Albert (160) and Ben Pitts (132) and a sixth-place showing by Zack Edwards (195).
St. Stephens finished ahead of Foard in 16th by one point. The Indians were led by state runner-up Bradley Bader, who lost in double overtime to Havelock's Jake Smith.
Ian Martin also finished in third place for the Indians.
1. Trinity 122
2. Croatan 99
3. North Surry 92
4. Piedmont 86.5
5. Newton-Conover 80
12. Maiden 43.5
16. Bandys 31.5
47. Bunker Hill 6
1. Orange 115
2. Union Pines 75.5
3. JM Robinson 66.5
4. NE Guilford 66
5. Ashbrook 54.5
16. St. Stephens 40
17. Fred T. Foard 39