2021 All-WNC Wrestling Awards: Wrestlers of the Year, Coach of the Year, First Team

·8 min read

The Citizen Times has released the All-WNC wrestling team for the 2021 season, including Wrestlers of the Year, Coach of the Year and wrestlers from each weight class.

The awards and honorable mentions are below.

2020-21 ALL-WNC WRESTLING AWARDS

All-WNC Wrestler of the Year: Triston Norris, North Henderson, Sr., 220 lbs.

North Henderson's Triston Norris went undefeated in his final season.
North Henderson's Triston Norris went undefeated in his final season.

Norris wrapped up his high school career with an undefeated season at 220 pounds. Eleven of the All-American's 18 matches ended by fall in the first minute, three more didn't make it into the second round and he added nine forfeit victories for a 27-0 overall record. The Appalachian State signee's 3A state championship tournament began with a pin in the opening round, then continued with three major decision victories. In his four matches that went the distance, no opponent scored more than two points.

All-WNC Wrestler of the Year (Girls): Aynsley Fink, Robbinsville, Jr., 106 lbs.

Robbinsville's Aynsley Fink was WNC's only champion at the 2021 NCHSAA Girls Invitational.
Robbinsville's Aynsley Fink was WNC's only champion at the 2021 NCHSAA Girls Invitational.

The Smoky Mountain Conference champion, Fink was also WNC's only champion at the 2021 NCHSAA Girls Invitational (a de facto girls state championship) and placed fourth at the 1A West Regional, becoming the only WNC girl to qualify to compete alongside the boys for a state title.

All-WNC Coach of the Year: Matthew Dunn, Avery County

The Vikings defended their 1A team state championship in dominant fashion, with 10 wrestlers reaching the championship round en route to 186 points, the most ever for a 1A team at a state championship tournament and the third-highest total of any classification. Four Avery County wrestlers won individual titles, backing up their Regional title by holding off runner-up Robbinsville.

2020-21 All-WNC Wrestling First Team

106: Luke Wilson, Robbinsville, Sr.

Robbinsville's Luke Wilson wrestles Uwharrie Charter's Heaven Fitch in the 1A 106-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.
Robbinsville's Luke Wilson wrestles Uwharrie Charter's Heaven Fitch in the 1A 106-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.

Wilson won the state title at 106 pounds after spending more than half the season wrestling up at 120 pounds. He still accumulated a 23-3 overall record and was undefeated at 106 pounds, with two losses at 120 pounds and one at 113. The senior avenged a 2020 state championship loss to Heaven Fitch with a sudden-victory win in the semifinals, and secured a state title with a 7-4 win in the 1A championship round.

106: Morgan Repasky, McDowell, Fr.

Repasky went 20-4 overall for the Titans, placing second at the Northwestern Conference meet and finishing as the 106B runner-up at the NCHSAA Girls Invitational.

113: Lazaro Vasquez, North Henderson, Sr.

North Henderson's Lazaro Vasquez, top, placed fourth at the state championships.
North Henderson's Lazaro Vasquez, top, placed fourth at the state championships.

After an undefeated regular season, Vasquez won the 3A West Regional and placed fourth at the state championships. It was his second consecutive fourth-place finish in the state bracket, and his third time placing in his career.

113: Jaylynne Esquivel, Cherokee, So.

Cherokee's Jaylynne Esquivel went 17-6 this season.
Cherokee's Jaylynne Esquivel went 17-6 this season.

Esquivel placed fourth in 113A at the Girls Invitational, wrapping up a 17-6 season that included a Regional appearance.

120: Henry Portela, North Henderson, So.

North Henderson's Henry Portela finished third in the state.
North Henderson's Henry Portela finished third in the state.

One of the top 120-pounders in the West, Portela's only two losses of the season each came to state champions, and one was with him wrestling up to 126 pounds. The sophomore had three wins by fall en route to a 3A Regional championship and bounced back from his state semifinal loss to secure third place with a 2-0 win.

120: Mickey Allen, West Henderson, Jr.

West Henderson's Michaiah "Mickey" Allen went 7-1 this season.
West Henderson's Michaiah "Mickey" Allen went 7-1 this season.

An All-WMAC selection, Allen wasn't on the mat much in her junior season but impressed when she was. She went 7-1 overall, her only loss coming in the semifinals of the Girls Invitational, where she placed third.

126: Jayden Nowell, Robbinsville, Jr.

Robbinsville's Jayden Nowell capped an unbeaten season with a state title.
Robbinsville's Jayden Nowell capped an unbeaten season with a state title.

After a runner-up finish as a freshman and a fourth-place performance in his sophomore season, Nowell decisively got over the hump in 2021, putting up a 28-0 record and dominating the 1A state tournament with two technical falls and a pin in the championship.

132: Ethan Shell, Avery County, Jr.

Mitchell's Dylan Lowry wrestles Avery County's Ethan Shell in the 1A 120-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.
Mitchell's Dylan Lowry wrestles Avery County's Ethan Shell in the 1A 120-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.

Shell went 28-0 in his junior year, cruising to a second consecutive 1A state title. The future Appalachian State Mountaineer secured pins in 20 of his 21 matches (not including forfeit victories), and the remaining match was an 11-0 major decision.

138: Jonah Hayes, Avery County, Sr.

Avery County's Jonah Hayes (left) talks with a coach.
Avery County's Jonah Hayes (left) talks with a coach.

Hayes' 138-pound championship was a triumph after steady improvement for a four-time state qualifier who hadn't won a Regional title and whose best state finish was third place in his first three seasons. In a 27-1 senior year, Hayes vanquished both of those demons, winning the 1A West Regional and the state championship, with a pair of close decision wins to cap the latter before heading to Montreat College.

138: Louis Mehaffey, Pisgah, Sr.

In his senior year, Mehaffey came up one win short of a perfect season, finishing as the 2A 138 runner-up after a 5-4 loss in the championship round. Prior to that match, the Montreat College commit had 14 pins in 16 matches and a 27-0 overall record.

145: Eli Foster, Enka, Sr.

Enka's Eli Foster and North Henderson's Trevon Hill hug after competing in the NCHSAA 3A West Regional final June 15, 2021.
Enka's Eli Foster and North Henderson's Trevon Hill hug after competing in the NCHSAA 3A West Regional final June 15, 2021.

Foster's junior year was defined by three losses to North Henderson's Trevon Hill, but he flipped the script in 2021. At the WMAC tournament, Foster made a statement with a 5-3 win in the championship round, and he replicated the result at the dual a couple of weeks later. Foster went on to a runner-up finish at the 3A West Regional and won a match at the state championships.

152: Lucas Whitted, Pisgah, Sr.

One of WNC's two NCHSAA state champions in a classification above 1A, Whitted capped a 25-3 senior year with a 2A title at 152 pounds. One of his three losses was at 170 pounds, and another came via disqualification, which he avenged via a 15-0 technical fall in the Mountain Six tournament championship. He followed that up with titles at the Regional and state championships.

152: Willow Chance, Rosman, Sr.

Chance qualified for the 1A West Regional and capped her season with a second-place finish at the Girls Invitational.

160: Bradley Parker, Avery County, Jr.

Avery County's Bradley Parker wrestles Robbinsville's Kameron McGuire in a 152-pound match during the 1A NCHSAA West Regional final at Avery County High School on Feb. 6, 2020.
Avery County's Bradley Parker wrestles Robbinsville's Kameron McGuire in a 152-pound match during the 1A NCHSAA West Regional final at Avery County High School on Feb. 6, 2020.

Determined to do one better than his runner-up finish from his sophomore season, Parker ran the table in 2021, going 28-0 with 12 pins in 18 competed matches. His state championship run was comfortable, with one win by fall followed by a 7-3 semifinal win and an 8-4 triumph in the final round.

170: Luke Artz, Enka, Sr.

Enka's Luke Artz defeated Cramer's Jonathon O`Shea in the NCHSAA 3A West Regional 170 final June 15, 2021.
Enka's Luke Artz defeated Cramer's Jonathon O`Shea in the NCHSAA 3A West Regional 170 final June 15, 2021.

Artz won the 3A West Regional and went 27-3 in his senior year, with one loss coming at 182 pounds. He avenged his second loss, to Reynolds' Elijah Brown, in the Regional semifinals, securing the title with his fourth pin of the meet in the championship round. The Navy commit won a match at the state championships.

182: Kage Williams, Robbinsville, Fr.

Robbinsville freshman Kage Williams went 29-0 with 22 pins.
Robbinsville freshman Kage Williams went 29-0 with 22 pins.

Williams began what's sure to be a storied wrestling career with a dominant freshman campaign, going 29-0 with 22 pins in 26 matches on the mat. The freshman's closest match came in final round of the state championship, an 8-0 major decision win. "Yes, he's a freshman," was a common, repeated refrain around the gym after Williams' matches, as anybody who didn't already know for certain found it hard to believe.

195: Kyle Fink, Robbinsville, Jr.

Robbinsville's Kyle Fink is introduced before he wrestles Mount Airy's Jackson Tumbarello in the 1A 195-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.
Robbinsville's Kyle Fink is introduced before he wrestles Mount Airy's Jackson Tumbarello in the 1A 195-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.

A state runner-up as a freshman and champion as a sophomore, Fink made it two in a row in a 25-3 junior season and was undefeated against 1A and 2A competition. He won the 1A Regional with three pins and had two more in the state championship, including just 1:17 into the title match.

220: Benjamen Wachacha, Robbinsville, Jr.

After a season consisting mostly of pins, Wachacha had to sweat out both his Regional and state titles. He edged Avery County's Zach Vance 4-3 in the 1A Regional championship match, then met Vance again in the final round of the state championship and snuck out a 3-2 win. Wachacha was 22-2 as a junior, with one loss coming to Norris.

285: Levi Andrews, Avery County, Jr.

Avery County's Levi Andrews wrestles Uwharrie Charter's Serio Saldana in the 1A 220-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.
Avery County's Levi Andrews wrestles Uwharrie Charter's Serio Saldana in the 1A 220-pound state title match at the NCHSAA state championship wrestling tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro on Feb. 22, 2020.

In his junior season, Andrews extended his career record to 132-9 and made it three-for-three in state championships. He went 28-0 in 2020, with 19 pins and nine forfeits. His first two matches at the 1A West Regional combined to last less than a minute, making his 7:25 spent on the mat in three state tournament matches a relatively long day at the office.

Honorable Mentions

Andrews: Samuel Wood

Avery County: Francisco Turja, Benjamin Jordan, Grant Reece, Jonathan Cable, Tristan Adams, Seth Blackledge, Dalton Towe

Brevard: Jesse Phillips

Cherokee: Braden Taylor

East Henderson: Brady Mathis, Tucker Marshall

Enka: Isaiah Morrison, Bodhi McCormack, Tony Torres, Colby Maxwell, Greyson Harris

Franklin: Bryan Rodriguez, Braden Cody, Isaac Jennings, Branden Berger

Hendersonville: JaJuan Givens

Madison: Cody Jamerson

McDowell: Tobias Finn, Preston Dennison, Jesse Barrier, Collin Campbell

Mitchell: Serenity Sobolefski

Mountain Heritage: Oliver Hughes

North Buncombe: Ethan Robinson, Maykol Santi, Stone Shapiro, Jacob Nix

North Henderson: Glennin Hansen, Peyton Fincher, Trevon Hill, Ulises Vega de la Mora, Alex Mendoza, Reese Meadows

Owen: Zeke Grabowski

Pisgah: Albert Messer, Xander Hill, David Queen, Dylan McClellan

Polk County: Satchel McCoy, Collier Foster, Bryson McCraw, Jacob Knighton

Reynolds: Elijah Brown

Robbinsville: Carlos Wesley

Rosman: Cole Combs, Jeshua Whited

Swain County: Adam Cotterman, Gabriel Lillard, Conner Driver

Tuscola: Aiden Ball, Mason Baker, Jadon Mintz

West Henderson: Damon Landreth, Will Parker

About the All-WNC teams

The Citizen Times All-WNC teams are compiled by staff writer James Crabtree-Hannigan after nominations are requested from area coaches. Athletes who are not nominated are not eligible for the teams.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: 2021 All-WNC Wrestling: Wrestlers, Coach of the Year, 1st Team

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting