Spencer McCoy, an EBCI tribal member from Robbinsville High School, became the first sophomore in Smoky Mountain Conference history to win a state wrestling title. He won the 195lb. championship at the 1A state wrestling tournament held at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 1-2.
McCoy (43-4) beat Tyler Hudson (Dixon) 3-1 in overtime in the finals to take the championship. In the first round, McCoy pinned Curtis Brown (Chatham Central) at 3:33, and in the second round he beat Cody Gaskill (East Surry) 6-2.
Cherokee sent two wrestlers to the state tournament including Tavi Rivera and Levi Swearengin. Rivera (39-2) took second place in the 160lb division. He started his tournament with by pinning Kaleb Smith (Rosewood) at 3:24 and by pinning Connor Hough (Pamlico County) at 1:02. Rivera lost the final to Bryan Wallace (Hendersonville) 10-5.
Swearengin (43-10) went 1-2 in the 126lb. tournament with a pin on Darrell Taylor (North Rowan) and a technical fall (16-1) loss to eventual state champion Nick Quillen (Rosewood) and a 8-2 loss to Jake St. Germain (West Wilkes).
Jacob Wildcatt (18-8), an EBCI tribal member from Swain County High School, went 1-2 in the 285lb. tournament with a pin on Casey Canterbury (Chatham Central), a loss by pin to Justin Brown (Ayden-Grifton), and a 6-5 loss to Dakota Bell (North Wilkes).
Nathan Craig (43-15), an EBCI tribal member from Robbinsville High, went 2-2 and took fourth place in the 170lb. tournament. He lost his first match 5-0 to Brandon Rabon (North Rowan) and then bounced back with a 4-3 win over Seth Schoonover (Dixon). Craig then defeated Luke Johnson (North Wilkes) 4-3 to advance to the consolation final where he barely lost to Rabon 2-1.
McCoy, Rivera, Swearengin, Craig and Wildcatt all won first place in their weight divisions at the Smoky Mountain Conference tournament. McCoy and Rivera took first place at the 1A West Regional tournament, Craig took third place, and Swearengin and Wildcatt both took fourth place.
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– ONE FEATHER STAFF REPORT