Southern’s Gregory finishes third at state wrestling championships

Mar. 02, 2013 @ 09:33 PM

Southern Vance’s Xavier Gregory followed up his 2012 fourth-place showing at the 3-A state wrestling championships with a third-place finish Saturday in the Greensboro Coliseum.

Gregory, the second-ranked 195-pounder in 3-A, finished the season 43-3. He defeated Concord’s Michael Simpson 9-5 to take third.

“I just wanted to represent my school,” said Gregory. “They had my back the whole way. I wanted to wrestle to the best of my ability.”

Gregory fell to top-ranked 195-pounder Kacee Hutchinson of Enka in Friday night’s semifinal.

Gregory and Southern coach Jameil Floyd said the plan was to keep pressure on the unbeaten defending state champion and make him uncomfortable.

Floyd said Gregory succeeded in doing that early on. It was 2-1 after the first period and 6-3 after the third before Hutchinson pulled away for an 11-5 win.

“I had a chance to win,” said Gregory. “I didn’t make the most of my opportunities.”

Floyd said the Enka coach told him after the match Gregory-Hutchinson should have been for the state final. But the state athletic association bases the pairings on region, not ranking. And the Mideast was placed in the bottom half of the bracket with the West, setting up the Southern-Enka semifinal.  

Southern’s Moses Richardson finished 1-2 at 126 pounds and was eliminated in the second consolation round.

“It was a good coaching experience and a great opportunity to be on the mat and see what kind of pressures my athletes are going to face,” said Floyd, who wrapped up his first season as coach.

The Raiders have seven wrestlers back for next season. Floyd said he wants to put Southern “back where it should be” when the school drops to 2-A next season.

“We plan to dominate,” he said.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.