by Chris Hunt

Hopewell wrestlers Austin Randall and Nick Watson won their respective weight classes in the Al Kessie Wrestling Tournament at Olympic High Dec. 12.

Randall pinned Ardrey Kell’s Alex Marbury to win the 103-pound class. Watson defeated North Mecklenburg’s Latham York, 17-1, to win the 215-pound division.

Hopewell’s Wesley Petrick finished second in the 112-pound weight class to Ardrey Kell’s Michael Bedard, 10-2, while Hough’s Brian Jones lost to Independence’s Brian Tiderman in the 171-pound final, 6-0.

As a team, Hough finished fifth, followed by Hopewell (ninth) and North Meck (tied for 13th).

Deering, Roberts take I-MECK honors

Hough punter Nathan Deering and Hopewell kicker Tyler Roberts were among the 17 Lake Norman-area football players recognized by the I-MECK 4A conference this fall.

In their first seasons of football, Deering was named Punter of the Year, while Roberts earned Kicker of the Year. Deering punted 51 times, averaging 42.86 yards per attempt, while Roberts kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime at West Charlotte.

Including Roberts, eight Titans made the all-conference squad.

Hopewell quarterback Cole Blythe threw for more yards in a season than any other Titan under coach Chris Rust, completing 105 of 216 passes for 11 touchdowns and more than 1,600 yards. Blythe’s favorite target was senior receiver Leroy Jackson, who caught 30 passes for a team-high 521 yards and six touchdowns to earn an all-conference nod. Senior running back Dondre Lewis-Freeman finished his career with 2,750 rushing yards, 34 touchdowns and his second consecutive all-conference award. Kevin Auten (offensive line), Giovonne Evans (defensive line), Tevin Stevenson (defensive line) and Denzel Heath (linebacker) also earned all-conference honors.

North Mecklenburg’s football team boasted a pair of receivers on the all-conference squad. Sophomore Rashaan Brown caught 36 passes for 548 yards and five scores, while teammate ­Terrence “Red” Clyburn hauled in 32 receptions for 369 yards and a touchdown. On defense, senior nose tackle Latham York (91 tackles and a team-high 10 sacks), senior linebacker Andrew Yost (a conference-best 151 tackles, eight sacks and four interceptions) and defensive back Darnell Foster (96 tackles) also earned all-conference recognition.

Three Hough Huskies made the all-conference team after the program’s first season. Receiver Brandon Mobley caught 34 passes for 414 yards and two scores. Linebacker Brian Jones (77 tackles and six sacks) and defensive back Nate Mays (76 tackles and three interceptions) also made the list.

The I-MECK 4A Co-Coaches of the Year were Phil Culicerto (Vance) and Mike Palmieri (Mallard Creek). Offensive Player of the Year went to Mallard Creek’s Marquise Williams, while teammate Alex Glover was Defensive Player of the Year. West Charlotte’s Ardy Holmes is Specialist of the Year.

Eagles pin Bucs

In what was considered an upset, the SouthLake wrestling team upended Charlotte Country Day, 45-27, on Dec. 10.

The Eagles won the first eight matches against the Bucs and nine overall. SouthLake’s Kyle Summer (103 pounds), Dudan Zack (112), Payton Weekly (119), Cody Tucker (125), Hewitt Hamilton (130), Thomas Remick (135), Sam Bryant (140), DJ Wilson (145) and Sam Remick (160) won matches.

SouthLake goes barefoot

SouthLake Christian Academy will host its eighth-annual SLCA Basketball Classic on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 17-18. This year’s event includes boys and girls basketball teams from SouthLake, Lincoln Charter School, Statesville Christian and North Raleigh Christian.

The tournament is partnering with Samaritan’s Feet of Charlotte, an organization that works to provide shoes for children throughout the world. In the tradition of the Samaritan’s “Barefoot for Barefeet” program, the SouthLake girls and boys coaches will coach their games without shoes and socks to raise awareness for the cause.

The SouthLake girls open tournament play at 3 p.m. Friday against Statesville Christian, followed by the SouthLake boys, who square off against Statesville Christian at 4:30 p.m. Lincoln Charter’s girls face North Raleigh Christian at 6 p.m., and the boys teams from those schools  play at 7:30 p.m.

The girls consolation game is set for Saturday at 10 a.m., while the boys consolation starts at 11:30 a.m. The girls finals are at 1 p.m., followed by the boys finals at 2:30 p.m.

Wachovia results

With all fall high school sports complete, Lake Norman High School is on top of the Wachovia Conference Cup standings for the I-MECK 4A after capturing championships in girls cross country, girls golf and volleyball.

Mallard Creek sits in second with league titles in boys cross country and football. North Mecklenburg and Mooresville share third place, thanks to North Meck’s championship in boys soccer and Mooresville’s title in girls tennis.

The Wachovia Cup team standings after the first of three stages completed (fall, winter and spring) are as follows: Lake Norman 46.5, Mallard Creek 40, Mooresville 35, North Mecklenburg 35, Hough 33, Hopewell 30.5, Vance 18 and West Charlotte 9.