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Three Uwharrie Charter Academy wrestlers — from left, Carson Robinson, Lorenzo Alston and Jaden Maness — won individual state 1-A wrestling titles on Saturday. They celebrate here with head coach Chris Wadd, left.

Four wrestlers bring home state titles

GREENSBORO — Lorenzo Alston is that special wrestler who doesn’t seem to be bothered by the brightness of any lights. Under the brightest of them all, he’s excelled for two straight seasons.


The Uwharrie Charter Academy sophomore capped off an undefeated season with this second straight NCHSAA state championship as he won the 1-A 150-pound title Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum.


Alston was one of four wrestlers from Randolph County who captured state championships this year, joining teammate Jaden Maness and Carson Robinson and Trinity’s Gavin Hardister.


Maness captured the 1-A 215-pound title, Robinson the 1-A 157-pound title and Hardister the 2-A 215-pound title.


In all, nine county wrestlers advanced to the finals of the state meets with five UCA wrestlers, two Trinity grapplers and a pair from Wheatmore moving into their respective championship matches.


In the 1-A tournament, UCA’s Ethan Hines (106) and Alek Millikan (165) placed second, while in the 2-A classification, Trinity’s Spencer May (120), and Wheatmore’s Dominic Hittepole (175) and Trey Swaney (138) placed second. 


Half of the 38 wrestlers who qualified for the state meets from Randolph County placed with four champions, five runner ups, one third-place finisher, six fourth-place wrestlers and three fifth-place finishers.


Trinity’s Bliss Joyce was the only wrestler in Randolph County to qualify for the girls' meet. She did not place.


Alston improved his varsity record to 101-2 in claiming his second straight title.


“It was a lot of pressure, but my parents helped me get through it,” Alston said. “Mostly I put pressure on myself. I wanted to win it and stay undefeated.”


Alston pinned all three opponents, the first two in the opening period and his title win came with a second-round pin.


“Hard work and staying committed,” he said as the reasons for his success.


Maness has made a steady climb at the state tournament during his high school career. He placed fourth in 2022, second in 2023 and first this season. He finished the season 33-3.


Robinson, a senior, battled a number of injuries this year.


“I’m just happy to be able to complete my goal and finish the season out strong,” said Robinson, who had a strained MCL and a hyperextended elbow. “Having the injuries makes it that much sweeter.”


Robinson captured a 4-3 decision in the finals after a pin and a major decision in the first two rounds.


“It’s hard to explain,” he said about his feelings after the final match. “It was like all my work has paid off over the last six years. All the workouts. It’s hard to explain that feeling.”


Hardister, a senior, failed to place in his first two state tournament appearances before winning it all this year.


“It’s just insane,” he said after a major decision win in the title bout. “I didn’t place the last two years and to go from not placing to winning the whole thing, it’s a surreal moment.”


Hardister, who finished 47-1 this season, won by fall in the first round and then defeated defending state champion Jose Flores of Southwestern Randolph 5-4. Hardister and Flores wrestle in the same club.


“He’s my club partner and it felt great,” Hardister said of the narrow win. “I knew I would win at that point.”


Hardister bulked up for this season, going from 175 to 215 in eight months. He said he’s hoping colleges took notice.


The four state championships ties for the second most in the county in any one year. Randolph County had four individual state titlists in 2020, 2019, 2017 and 2012. The county had five state champions in 2016.


In the 2-A meet this year, THS’ Lawson Coltrane was third (165), placing fourth were Randleman’s Alex Raymundo (106) and Braxton Walker (190), SWR’s Flores (215) and Trinity’s Jaden Allred (138). Three THS wrestlers placed fifth in Levi Dennis (132), Charles Schaefer (144) and Joseph Trahan (285).


In the 1-A meet, placing fourth were Eastern Randolph’s David Lambright (126) and UCA’s Caden Bond (175).


Also competing in the 1-A state meet but not placing were ER’s Joshua Watson (106 pounds, 0-2), UCA’s Caleb Saldana (113, 0-2), UCA’s Brennan Worrell (120, 0-2), UCA’s Jack McArthur (132, 1-2), UCA’s Jair Ulloa (138, 1-2), ER’s Maddox Craven (215, 0-2) and UCA’s Devontae Harrison (285, 0-2).


Those who qualified for the state 2-A meet but didn’t place were THS’ Aiden Burkholder (106, 2-2), SWR’s Janaskel Perez Montera (113, 0-2), THS’ Edgar Vasquez (113, 1-2), THS’ Brayden Hall (126, 2-2), RHS’ Kolby Garner (138, 0-2), SWR’s Michael Jaimes (138, 2-2), RHS’ Jesus Garcia (144, 0-2), THS’ Baron Justice (150, 1-2), WHS’ Zack Starkweather (150, 1-2), SWR’s Erick Lopez Rabadan (165, 0-2) and THS’ Xavier Horton (190, 1-2),


In the state 3-A meet, Asheboro’ Oscar Zelaya (132) was 0-2.