Of the 35 spots up for grabs, 21 came from the four local schools, led by eight each from North Surry and Surry Central.
Most of the athletes earned their spot on the team by how they performed at the conference tournament Saturday. The top two finishes from the 14 weight classes make up 28 spots. The other seven wrestlers were selected by the coaches for their performance all season.
North Surry’s Eric Jessup was named coach of the year after leading the Greyhounds to a 27-4 season. The Hounds were undefeated last year, but lost several seniors to graduation. In what was to be a rebuilding year, the Hounds still went undefeated in conference play.
Leading the way were these all-conference selections: Tristen Brannock, Austin McMillian, Dakota Key, Austin Collins, Tanner Riddle, Logan Younger, Zach Creed and Josh Thomas. Thomas, 145 lbs., was injured and missed the tournament, but made the field as a coaches’ selection.
Nick Sgroi, the top 145-pounder in 1A, was named the conference wrestler of the year. Sgroi, Bishop McGuinness, was third in the state last year and went 37-1 this year wrestling both at 145 and 152 as the team needed him. Sgroi also was a leading rusher for the Villains’ football team.
Six of his teammates from Bishop joined him on the all-conference team. Those were Alex Preudhomme, Grant Gregory, Patrick O’Shea, Collin Eichhorn, Geno Guilyard and Eli Grogan. Grogan, 23-15 at 125 lbs., was a coaches’ selection.
Surry Central’s picks were Kevin Pack, Mason Snow, Jacob Longworth, Cesar Peña, Johnny Glass, Bryant White, Wes Brown and Nathon Bautista.
While some teams have trouble fielding a 103-lb. wrestler, the weight is one of the most loaded classes in the conference. Bautista was a coaches’ selection, as was Mount Airy’s Jackson Blizzard, the lone Bear on the list. Brannock and Preudhomme would have been easy selections as well if they hadn’t earned spots with their finals appearances.
Making the team from East Surry were Cody Bryant, Jacob Fregia, Greg Upchurch and coaches’ choice Blaine Hunter (130 lbs.).
North Stokes only went 3-14 on the season, but not for lack of trying by 130-pounder Johnathan McHone, who was 19-0 going into the tournament. He finished second and was the only Viking on the list.
West Stokes featured Dwight Shelton, Jacob Tilley, Noel Helms and coaches’ selection Zach Westmoreland (125 lbs.).
South Stokes got two athletes on the team with Mitchell Dorsett and Micah Phillips, a coaches’ choice at 112 lbs.
Six local wrestlers made the honorable mention list: Austin Drake and Nick Smith, East Surry; Tyler Riddle and Austin Riggs, North Surry; and Raymond Dance and Jared Johnson, Surry Central.
The others were Bishop McGuinness’ Peter Jacoby and Brian Roche, North Stokes’ Keith Brown and Landon Richardson, South Stokes’ Brandon Lawson and Taylor Gibbs, and West Stokes’ Michael Shuler and Rickey Kirchenbauer.