• 61°

LaBella takes third place at 4-A wrestling state championships

Girls basketball opens state tournament play this week, spring sports on the horizon

By Marc Pruitt
For the Clemmons Courier

Evan LaBella finished third in the NCHSAA 4-A state wrestling championships in the 126-pound weight class last weekend at the Greensboro Coliseum.

LaBella, who finished the season with a 36-9 record, beat Richie Rizzuto of Raleigh Leesville Road in the consolation finals by a 5-4 decision.

LaBella advanced to the semifinals by winning his first two matches with pins.

He pinned Brandon Hepper of Corinth-Holders in 1 minute, 31 seconds in his opening round match, followed that up with a pin against Kyle Sanders of South Mecklenburg in 3 minutes, 56 seconds, to advance to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, LaBella ran into two-time defending state champion Kobe Early of Cary, who entered the match with a perfect record of 50-0.

Early squeaked past LaBella with a 4-2 decision and went on the win his third straight state championship and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament in the 4-A classification.

LaBella went to the consolation bracket following his loss to Early and pinned J.T. Richards of Lake Norman in 2:28 to advance to the consolation final against Rizzuto.

LaBella was one of six Titans to qualify for the state championships and the only one to place in the top 6.

Joseph Burns (106) lost his opening match against undefeated Mark Samuel of Wilmington Laney and was eliminated after a 4-2 decision against Landon Bean of Charlotte Olympic in his first consolation match.

Landon Hairston (138) lost his opening round match by an 11-5 decision against Timmy Kennett of Lake Norman. In his opening round consolation match, Hairston lost a 7-2 decision to Cary’s Paul Grena.

Jacob Zaitawi (170) won his opening round match with a 4-1 decision against Caleb Beaty of Wake Forest before losing a 14-7 decision to Alex Kata of Mallard Creek in the quarterfinals.

Aidan Meagher (182) lost his opening round match against Ryan Wolfram of Cary and then was eliminated in the first round of the consolation bracket after losing to Michael Pepe of Hough.

Kevin Perez-Olmeda (220) also lost his opening round match against Corey Pollack of Laney before dropping a 3-2 decision in his opening consolation match against Fayetteville Britt’s Shawn Healey.

Congratulations to all these wrestlers on a great season.

Girls basketball team opens state tournament play this week

The West Forsyth girls basketball team opened the defense of their NCHSAA 4-A state championship with a first-round playoff game at Lake Norman on Tuesday night.

The Titans, who got the No. 3 seed from the Central Piedmont 4-A Conference, received the No. 18 seed overall.

West finished the regular season with a 15-10 record and lost to East Forsyth in the semifinals of the conference tournament on Feb. 19 in its last game.

A first-round win would match the Titans up against Glenn, the CPC regular season and tournament champion, in Thursday’s second round.

Spring sports on the horizon

Practices for all spring sports teams got underway two weeks ago and first games are approaching for all teams — as long as the weather cooperates.

Mother Nature hasn’t been too kind to the Titans spring sports calendar yet with all the rain and snow last week and this week.

West will field teams for baseball, softball, girls soccer, track and field, boys tennis, boys golf, and boys and girls lacrosse.