Cleaning out my wrestling notebook:
-- Gender history was made at the N.C. High School Athletic Association wrestling championships last weekend.
Rosewood High senior Olivia Neal became the first girl to qualify for the tournament. She was hardly a slouch – third in the East 1A/2A regional meet (the top four qualify for the state tournament) and a 42-8 record.
Neal, who wrestled in the 103-pound division, became the first girl to win a match, too, when she pinned Ray Farnsworth (Catawba Bandys) in the opening round Friday. She lost in the quarterfinal and was eliminated in the third round of the consolation bracket.
-- The tournament’s three Most Outstanding Wrestler awards:
4A: Chris Townsend (South Caldwell)
3A: Marcus Blue (High Point Andrews)
2A: Jonathan Burns (Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons)
-- It’s been a long time since Mecklenburg County had five finalists.
Butler’s Travis Puckett was the lone champion, at 160 pounds in 4A. He capped a 35-0 season.
The other four finalists, despite being disappointed about losing, had splendid seasons.
Butler freshman Tom Puckett (45-3) lost 11-0 to unbeaten Dominic Parisi (Concord Robinson) in 4A’s 112. No shame there.
Olympic’s Jared Seate got pinned by Christian McLean (Southwest Guilford) in the second round of the 3A title match at 215 pounds. Seate finished 46-5.
East Meckenburg’s Denison Paiva (38-4) lost 5-1 to three-time champion Anthony Clinton (Mount Tabot), who finished 34-0 in 4A’s 189-pound division. It was a tough match decided in the third period.
Hopewell’s Nathan Stanford (47-3), hoping to become the first champion in school history, lost 3-2 to James Dela Riva (Alexander Central) in 4A’s 215-pound division.
-- Cliff Mehrtens