Topsail’s Ian Fritz repeats as 4A wrestling state champion

Topsail junior Ian Fritz cemented his place as one of the area’s all-time great wrestlers by claiming his second consecutive NCHSAA 4A state championship on Saturday night inside the Greensboro Coliseum.

Fritz became the second two-time state champion in school history, joining Aric McCutcheon (2A 125 champion in 2010 and 2011). The only area wrestler to win three titles was Laney’s Mark Samuel (2020-23). 

The N.C. State commit showed off his incredible offensive skills throughout the three-day event, outscoring his four opponents 69-17. 

He cruised to 24-7 and 19-2 tech falls in the first two rounds. Fritz (47-3) earned a 15-5 decision over Providence’s Santiago Ruiz Diaz, who entered with just one loss, in the semifinals.

That set up a showdown with Laney’s Tristan Cotto (42-6) in the final at 150 pounds. Despite both competing in the Mideastern Conference, it was the first-ever high school meeting between the two. 

After a scoreless opening period, Fritz got a quick escape and takedown near the edge of the mat to build a 3-0 lead. He showed off his quickness less than a minute later by sprawling to avoid a shot before circling around Cotto for two more points. 

Fritz finished with five takedowns to cruise to an 11-3 major decision. 

Topsail’s Ian Fritz claimed his second consecutive 4A state title. [Tim Hower/Coastal Preps]

After finishing fourth as a freshman, Fritz claimed his first state title with a dominant 16-1 tech fall over defending state champion Eli Murray of Lake Norman en route to being named the Most Outstanding Wrestler a year ago. 

Fritz will enter his senior season with an incredible record of 141-8. His five losses over the past two season all came to out of state opponents. 

Cotto had a magical run to the final. He opened with a 10-5 decision on Thursday before securing hard-fought 7-5 and 3-2 victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals. 

Two other Laney competitors also reached the final before falling.

Isaiah Wysong (34-1) suffered his first defeat of the season in heartbreaking fashion against Rolesville’s Frank Bianco at 144 pounds. Trailing 3-2 late in the match, Wysong got in deep on a shot and finished the takedown, but the referees concluded it came after the final buzzer. 

Wysong had defeated Bianco (56-5) by a score of 9-3 in the 4A East final a week ago.

After pinning each of his first three opponents at 215, Mason Blue (45-2) suffered a 7-2 loss to Mooresville’s Johnny Merriman (35-1).

Merriman got the scoring started with a takedown, but Blue tied things up with a reversal. Another reversal gave Merriman a 4-2 lead after the first period. He would tack on three more points over the final four minutes.

Topsail heavyweight Thomas Bennett (44-9) nearly knocked off unbeaten Deondre Johnson (48-0) of Clayton in the final at heavyweight, but came up on the short end of a 2-1 score.

Both wrestlers scored one point on an escape. Johnson’s other point came in the second period on a stalling call. 

Laney finished fourth in the team standings with 82 points, while Topsail was sixth with 68. The top three were Davie (100), Lumberton (96) and Mooresville (86).

Hoggard Pierce White (4A 190) and West Brunswick’s Luke Connick (3A 132) both finished fifth. 

Laney’s Tyler Buonocore (4A 138), Trask’s Nick Johnson (2A 144) as well as Topsail teammates Aaron Martinez (4A 175) and Robert Tellez (4A 132) all had sixth-place finishes.  

Saturday’s area results

Hoggard (4A)
Consolation round 3

190 pounds: Pierce White pin Priest Gwyn (Reagan), 1:49

Consolation semifinals 

190 pounds: Bo Schiano (Hough) pin Pierce White (Hoggard), 4:13

Fifth-place match

190 pounds: Pierce White pin Edison Morales (Porter Ridge), 2:25

Laney (4A)
Consolation round 3

106 pounds: Spencer Sterling (Cardinal Gibbons) dec. Ayden Arrington, 5-0

138 pounds: Tyler Buonocore dec. Tyler Klemmer, 4-2

Consolation semifinals 

138 pounds: Aidan Gore (Garner) dec. Tyler Buonocore, 7-2

Fifth-place match

138 pounds: Andrew Davis (Davie) dec. Tyler Buonocore, 10-8 OT

First-place match

144 pounds: Frank Bianco (Rolesville) dec. Isaiah Wysong, 3-2

150 pounds: Ian Fritz (Topsail) major dec. Tristan Cotto, 11-3

215 pounds: Johnny Merriman (Mooresville) dec. Mason Blue, 7-2

New Hanover (4A)
Consolation round 3

Ryder Menard (Lake Norman) dec. Brian Trujillo, 4-1

North Brunswick (3A)
Consolation round 3

150 pounds: Tripp Sullivan (Union Pines) tech fall Kirick Gurkin, 16-0

Topsail (4A)
Consolation round 3

132 pounds: Robert Tellez dec. Marcello Scaldaferri (South Mecklenburg), 15-8

Consolation semifinals

132 pounds: Tobin McNair (Wakefield) dec. Robert Tellez, 7-5

175 pounds: Luke Shipley (Weddington) dec. Aaron Martinez, 6-3

Fifth-place match

132 pounds: Austin Green (Mooresville) pin Robert Tellez, 4:46

175 pounds: Sam Harper (South Iredell) dec. Aaron Martinez, 8-3

First-place match

150 pounds: Ian Fritz major dec. Tristan Cotto (Laney), 11-3

285 pounds: Deondre Johnson (Clayton) dec. Thomas Bennett, 2-1

Trask (2A)
Consolation round 3

144 pounds: Nick Johnson pin Ashton Shields-Adams (Southwest Onslow), 2:36

Consolation semifinals

144 pounds: Gabe Foreman (Washington) pin Nick Johnson, 4:51

Fifth-place match

144 pounds: Bear Schaefer (Trinity) pin Nick Johnson, 2:41

West Brunswick (3A)
Consolation round 3

132 pounds: Luke Connick dec. Gage Helms (North Lincoln), 6-4 OT

Consolation semifinals

132 pounds: Jared Hutchins (Orange) dec. Luke Connick, 8-4

Fifth-place match

132 pounds: Luke Connick dec. Logan Mitchell (Union Pines), 5-3