Southwest Wake Athletic Conference teams Holly Springs and Cary were the dominant local 4A high school wrestling teams in 2012-13.
Cary reached the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A semifinals before being ousted by eventual state runner-up Fayetteville Jack Britt, 39-21. Holly Springs was eliminated by Britt in the second round by an almost identical score, 40-18.
The Golden Hawks (31-4) return eight starters. Among the veterans are Aaron Redus (120 pounds, 56-3), Daniel Richardson (152, 51-9), Austin Galati (170, 46-7) and Travian Cooke (170, 48-7). Holly Springs beat Cary for the conference and regional tournament titles but lost the conference dual-team title.
Redus, Richardson and Galati are defending conference champs, while Cooke and Charlie Clark are returning runner-ups.
The Imps (20-1) didn’t turn out individual state champions last season as they had previously, but Cary remains the standard by which local 4A teams are evaluated.
Cary junior Will Clark (51-1), finished third in the 126-pound class and is the reigning conference wrestler of the year. The Imps return 12 starters, including state qualifier Mark Mulligan, and have added 120-pound transfer Parker Ragsdale, who was third in 2012.
Panther Creek (18-5) finished third last year but could be rebuilding. Matt Powell (182) is the lone returning state qualifier.
Under first-year coach Ed Petrovsky, Fuquay-Varina (10-7) enjoyed one of its best years since it won back-to-back state titles in the early 2000s. The Bengals will be younger but return senior Roelvis Vargas (170) and juniors Daniel Cockerill (113) and Taylor Highsmith (132).
Green Hope (7-13) brings back 100-match winner Ian Callahan (195).
Athens Drive (19-20) will have some strong individuals returning conference runner-ups junior Grant Finkbeiner (126) and Mahmoud Ghuweir (195) plus state qualifier Trey Cornish (113), a sophomore.
Apex (5-13) is led by senior Chance Davis (113), who built a 48-6 record while winning the conference title and qualifying for states.
Middle Creek (3-20) returns conference runner-up Ryan Pasquale (106).