Tuesday, 14 February 2017 15:57

Kreitter, Walker eye state titles

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Hopewell's E.J. Walker, top in above photo, and Hough's Caleb Kreitter, pictured below, are unbeaten entering the state tournament. Hopewell's E.J. Walker, top in above photo, and Hough's Caleb Kreitter, pictured below, are unbeaten entering the state tournament. Justin Parker

Caleb Kreitter and E.J. Walker have been painstakingly close before, and the seniors enter this week’s state wrestling tournament with the same goal in mind: win a state championship.

It’s the only thing missing in their successful prep careers.

In two trips to the N.C. 4A tournament, Hough’s Kreitter and Hopewell’s Walker each have second- and third-place finishes. Both were in position to win state championship matches, only to lose when their opponents scored needed points in the closing seconds. And both have overcome that heartbreak to return to the state stage.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is I can’t let up at all,” said Kreitter. “I have to be there mentally the whole match.”

Kreitter and Walker are unbeaten and coming off wins at the 4A West Regional at Hough last Saturday. Walker is 41-0 and won the 120-pound regional title, earning a technical fall over Porter Ridge freshman Preston Scarborough in the final.

“I just went in and didn’t take him lightly,” said Walker, now 85-1 the last two years.

Kreitter is 38-0 and won the 126-pound regional title with a 6-2 decision over McDowell’s Toney McGee in the final. It was McGee who turned the tables on Kreitter in the final seconds of last year’s state final. Kreitter is 91-1 the last two years, with the lone loss to McGee.

Kreitter was all smiles after the regional win as he and McGee shook hands and hugged, showing the mutual respect they share. They also know they might see one another again this week.

The state championships begin Thursday night at the Greensboro Coliseum and conclude Saturday evening.


Hudson headed back
North Meck’s Eric Hudson is 2-for-2 on regional championships and state tournament berths.

A year after winning the 182-pound regional title, the Viking sophomore won the 195-pound regional championship and punched his ticket to his second state tournament. He went 2-2 in Greensboro last year, and he believes the experience can only help him this year.

“There’s no flukes (at states),” said Hudson. “There’s great competition. It’s good to be going back.”

With four regional wins, Hudson improved to 28-2. He pinned Hough’s Tripp Foscue in 1:35 in the final.


Hough takes second
Hough totaled 132 points and finished second in the team standings at regionals behind champion Mooresville (205.5). Lake Norman was third with 115.

Top-four individual finishes were needed to qualify for the state championship, and for the third time in its seven-year history, Hough has seven wrestlers advancing.

Foscue (195) and 138-pounder Sam Russ moved on with second-place regional finishes, while Nick Pepe (120) and Mitchell Newell (152) were third at regionals. Sam Westmoreland (113) and Carson Pervier (132) advanced with fourth-place finishes. It’s Pervier’s second state qualification.

Hopewell finished eighth at regionals, and Nolan Edens qualified for states for the second straight year by finishing third at 126 pounds.


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