For the second time in as many years, Watauga High senior Demetre Kostis has been named the Wrestler of the Year in the Northwestern Conference. Kostis is also a four-time conference champion.
He claimed the NW3A/4A Conference title at 132 pounds last weekend at the conference championships at Patton High School in Morganton,. N.C. Kostis, who will make his fourth regional appearance, defeated Nick Morris of Patton by pinfall in the semifinals before he defeated Dylan Cassidy of Fred T. Foard by major decison, 11-2. Kostis was a state qualifier last year, and he's made it to states three times.
Kostis was one of six place finishers for the Pioneers, who were 2-5 in conference duals. They were 12-23 overall.
The Pioneers had three wrestlers in all named all-NW3A/4A. Kostis was joined on the all-conference squad by Jeremy Critcher, who finished second at the conference championships at 195 pounds, and Mark Townsend, who won the conference title at 120 pounds.
Critcher lost to to Christian Ohmer of Foard by pinfall (1:02) in the finals. Townsend knocked off Caleb Hart of Fred T. Foard in a major decision, 15-2, to win the championship.
Fred T. Foard, which pulled off the sweep by winning both the regular-season and tournament championships, led the way with 11 all-conference performers. The Tigers had six conference champions and six second-place finishers.
The Tigers (36-4 in duals), who won the Class 3A title last season, lost to Eden-Morehead in the finals Saturday night, 33-28. Eden-Morehead (38-1) and avenged a 41-27 loss to Fred T. Foard in last years dual team finals. The Panthers won their sixth NCHSAA dual team title in 10 appearances in the finals, but it was the Panthers first state crown since 2006. Senior Payton Mills of Morehead at 182 pounds was named the championship Most Valuable Performer.
South Caldwell, the No.1 seed among thbe Class 4A schools in the conference, had three all-conference performers. Hibriten had no selections because the Panthers elected not to compete in the conference tournament due to the death of one of its wrestlers.
Billy Baker of St. Stephens was named the Coach of the Year.
The Class 4A Western Regional championships will be Friday and Saturday, February 14-15, at Cornelius-Hough. Regional qualifiers will be announced later this week.
WHS SWIMMERS HAVE FIVE ALL-NW3A/4A SELECTIONS
The Watauga High boy's and girl's swimming teams had five all-Northwestern 3A/4A Conference selections on Saturday.
Anne Taylor, who won the NW3A/4A title in the 50-meter freestyle, was the only WHS girl selected to the all-conference squad. Taylor, who turned in a strong season for WHS, had six top-five finishes at the conference championships on January 23.
She had a second-place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke; she was third in the 100-meter butterfly and the 200 IM, and she was fourth as a member of the 200-freestyle and 200-medley relay teams.
The WHS boys had four all-conference selections. Leading the way were Reed Conner and Joel Brown, who earned two all-conference selections. Conner won a conference championship in the boy's 200 IM, he finished fourth in the 500-freestyle, and he was a member of WHS' 200-medley and 400-freestyle relay teams that finished fourth and second respectively.
Brown was named all-conference following a second-place finish in the 100-freestyle, he had a third-place finish in the 50-freestyle, and he joined Conner on the 200-medley relay team that finished fourth, and the 400-freestyle relay squad that was second.
Nick Woody and Ben Watson were also members on the 200-medley and 400-freestyle relay teams. Individually, Woody finished fourth in the 100 backstroke and he finished third in the 100 butterfly. Watson finished fourth in the 200-freestyle and he was seventh in the 100 breaststroke.
Emmaline Peterson of Hickory, who won two events (the 200 IM and the 500-freestyle) was named the girl's Swimmer of the Year; LeeAnn Privett of St. Stephens was named the girl's Coach of the Year. For the boys, Clay Graves of South Caldwell, who won three events (the 50-freestyle, the 100-freestyle and he was a member of the 200-medley relay team) was named the Swimmer of the Year; Brent Tomberlin of the Spartans was the Coach of the Year.