Over the last few weeks, the Independence wrestling team has been picking up wins and adding trophies to its collection. Over the holiday break, the Patriots went undefeated at the Clash at the Creek (5-0) to earn first place. Senior heavyweight Demtree Hardison was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler for his effort in leading Independence to first place. This past week, the team began its conference schedule and picked up wins over Rocky River and Myers Park. Independence defeated Rocky River 63-18 and Myers Park 49-21. The Patriots are 15-8 on the year and 2-0 in the SW4A conference. Their most recent hardware addition came at the fourth annual Holy Angels Invitational. Independence came in third place for the second year in a row. The following wrestlers placed for Independence: Tashon Risher, second place, at 170 lbs.; Brian Tiderman, first place at 195 lbs.; Charlie Kurtz, fourth place, at 220 lbs.; and Demtree Hardison, first place at 285 lbs. For the second tournament in a row, Hardison was voted most outstanding wrestler after pinning a state champion in the finals. The next match for the Patriots is Friday, January 11 when they host East Meck and Garinger at 6 pm.
By Frank Smithwick
Eighteen schools participated in the two-day Al Kessie Mecklenburg County Wrestling Tournament held at Olympic High School this past weekend.
The tournament is named after a former coach and athletic director in CMS who started the tournament many years ago.
From Mint Hill, Independence, Rocky River, and first time participant Queens Grant wrestled.
Queens Grant came away with one place winner, Connor Day, who took fourth place at 145 lbs. Rocky River had one place winner as well, Seth Johnson, who came in fourth place in the 195 lbs. weight class.
The Independence wrestling team came in third in team points without a full lineup.
Independence entered the tournament with a chance to be in contention for a top two finish. This goal was hindered when Indy began the tournament without three of its regular starters: Robert Merli (126 lbs.), Devin Taylor (138 lbs.) and Charlie Kurtz (220 lbs.). These three wrestlers have combined for 34 wins this year for the Patriots. Missing these wrestlers meant that other Indy wrestlers had to do well over the two-day tournament to make up points lost by not entering a full team. At the end of the second day, Indy had four wrestlers place in the top four. Tashon Risher came in fourth place at 170 lbs. and Josh Matos came in second place at 182 lbs. Indy did crown two champions: Junior Brian Tiderman(195 lbs.) and senior Demetree Hardison (285 lbs.). This was the third county championship for Tiderman and the second for Hardison.