Catawba Ridge’s RJ Lincoln goes for a pin over his opponent from Lancaster during the 195-pound finals Saturday at the Region 3-4A tournament.

For the second consecutive year, Catawba Ridge senior wrestlers R.J. Lincoln has qualified for the Upper State tournament by winning a region title.

This year Lincoln claimed his first 4A region title, as the Copperheads wrestled in 3A last season. Lincoln was the bright spot for Catawba Ridge in the tournament as he was the only one who qualified.

Because of the coronavirus, only the top two wrestlers – basically the region finalists – make it to the Upper State tournament Feb. 26-27. In years past the top four would have made it. This year Catawba Ridge would have qualified eight wrestlers, as seven of them made it to the consolation finals.

“From this year to last year we have made huge strides,” said Copperheads’ head coach Scooter Weathers.  “We are learning to compete. In wrestling, it takes a long time to build a program.”

However, only Lincoln made it to the finals, thus making a trip to the Upper State tournament for the second consecutive year. Lincoln pinned Lancaster’s Tyquan Bowser in just 1:17 into the first period to claim the region title at 195-pounds.

Finishing third for Catawba Ridge was Connor Stukitz (120) and Nate Teel (182). Stukitz won by a 16-0 tech fall and Teel won by pin in the second period. Normally, both would have qualified for the Upper State tournament had new rules not been in place because of COVID-19.

Catawba Ridge had five wrestlers finish fourth in Jake Kees (126), Jackson Rozelle (132), Levi Jones (138), Logan Manha (152) and Kade McCarter (170). These wrestlers would have also normally qualified for the Upper State tournament as well.

South Pointe had 10 wrestlers qualify for the Upper State tournament by making it to the finals. Indian Land had nine, York had six and Lancaster had two. South Pointe won the region tournament, but Indian Land won the region championship in the regular season going 4-0 in the region.

South Pointe wrestlers winning region titles were Alan Powell (126), Cole Airington (145), Ernie Greenwood (hwt.), Jackson Barton (106), and Spencer Cox (132). Also qualifying for the Stallions were Elias Popov (120), Jacob Williams (113), Joshua Greenwood (120) and Nygel Moore (182).

Winning region titles for Indian Land were Cayden Thielk (113), David Floyd (220), Drew Endres (120), Dylan Layton (138), Forest Lambert (182), Grant Witherspoon (152) and Terrell Ottinger (170). Those finishing second were Max Yegge (132) and Clint Creech (126).

York had six second place finishers qualifying for the Upper State tournament in Bradley Welch (152), Carlos Johnson (170), Chris Propst (106), Clay Crowe (145), Joey Hall (hwt.) and Luke Dickson (138).

The other Lancaster wrestler qualifying for the Upper State tournament besides Bowser was Eric Byrd (160).

Mac Banks:, @fortprep