Cougar wrestlers recap on fall season success


Lexi Murray, Assistant Editor in Chief

As the season came to an end, the boys’ varsity wrestling team ended up finishing third in the conference, however, not qualifying for playoffs as a team.

“We showed some good overall technical skills by several wrestlers throughout the team and using several young wrestlers with talent,” coach Andrew Shrader said.

The team did send 12 individual wrestlers to post-season regionals.

Young talent, including underclassmen such as sophomore Ben Lance, were among those who qualified.

Lance defeated three opponents in the regional tournament, but eventually lost in overtime to Seth Thomas from Laney High School.

As Lance looked back over the season, there was one moment that he was really proud of.

“Definitely placing at state because it was such a big achievement and it was my goal throughout the year,” Lance said.

Lance led all cougars with his fourth place finish at states.

There was also success coming from junior Connor Voelker.

Competing in the 170 weight class, Voelker came out with a record of 32-9, with 14 pins this season.

Voelker took down four opponents at the regional tournament, but also was ultimately defeated by a competitor from Laney High School.

There was, however, one setback for Voelker at states.

“I was just very sick,” Voelker said.

Closing out his high school wrestling career, senior Michael Pappaconstantinou earned a record of 45-4, with 40 pins in the 120 weight class.

“He showed his teammates the work it takes to be very good at this sport, and it resulted in placing fifth in the NC States,” Shrader said.

Pappaconstantinou has an overall career record of 123-30.

“It was good knowing that through the past two years I haven’t been beaten in conference, so it was a little bit of a confidence booster going into regionals,” Pappaconstantinou said.

As coach Shrader has been there since Pappaconstantinou was a freshman, and coach Evan Worland has travelled around the country with him as he’s wrestled, Pappaconstantinou describes his coaches as, “instrumental” in helping him develop as a wrestler.

Shrader now turns his attention to developing their foundation for success in the future.

Shrader said, “Our focus remains building up young wrestlers who have a desire to get better through strength, conditioning, technical skills and the mental toughness to compete in this sport.”