The McDowell Titans wrestling team turned in a solid performance in its first individual tournament of the season, placing fourth in a 17-team field at the Dekota Smith Invitational at South Caldwell last weekend.
The Titans had two weight-class champions, Toney McGee (126 pounds) and Jacob Phillips (152), and McGee walked away with tournament MVP honors.
Three more McDowell grapplers placed, with Tice Edwards (220) taking third place, Aaron Buchanan (170) tying for third and Conner Good (160) placing fourth. All but two Titans who competed won at least one match.
Mooresville won the tourney with 219 points and was followed by West Wilkes (163), Bunker Hill (142) and the Titans (123.5). Other Northwestern 3A/4A Conference teams participating included South Caldwell (6th place, 79.5 points), West Caldwell (9th, 66) and Hickory (15th, 37.5).
McGee won his first two matches by technical fall and major decision respectively. In the finals, he met West Iredell’s Landon Shuford, last season’s State 3A runner-up. McGee clipped Shuford 4-2 in a hard-fought bout to claim the title.
Phillips pinned his first two foes, and met Hickory’s Chris Cohens, who won three matches at the 3A state tourney last season. Phillips was leading 9-2 when Cohens was injured and forced to default.
Edwards pinned West Wilkes’ Dallas Rash in the first period in the third-place bout at 220. Buchanan and West Caldwell’s Easton Griffin never got to wrestle for third at 170 because Griffin had already wrestled five bouts, the daily limit in North Carolina.
McDowell’s Josh Morgan (182) won three matches but did not place. Alldyn Conley (120), Daniel Maynor (138) and Aamon Haynes (195) won two bouts apiece. Dante Quitman (132) and Aaron Duncan (285) won one match apiece.
The Titans will compete in the North Henderson tournament this Saturday (9 a.m.).