Hoots has monster season for Ellis wrestling

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Carter Hoots got pushed around half the time he stepped on the mat as a seventh grader, but it was no fun tangling with Hoots in 2023.

He had a monster eighth-grade season, going 16-0 and winning the Tri-County Conference title at 138. Hoots and North Davie’s Isaac O’Toole were the only unbeatens from Davie County when the dust settled in the conference tournament at Davie High on Dec. 9. O’Toole went 16-0 at 152 as an eighth grader.

“Carter’s a wrestler that every coach wants,” Ellis coach Charles Compton said after Hoots went 3-0 in the tournament. “I mean, he’s what we call the one-percenter. Any club he’s begging to go get practice, he’s begging to work out. He’s doing it six or seven days a week.”

After paying his dues and going 6-7 last year, Hoots’ path to perfection was as straight as it gets. All his matches were pins or forfeits except for one, when he went the distance (five minutes) in a win over a kid from Selma Burke.

“But that kid did not want to wrestle him again, so he went to 132,” Compton said. “Carter only had six points scored on him all year, and most of those points were when he let the kid up. Carter is a leader on the mat and off the mat, in the classroom, everything.”

There were four champions from Davie County, including North Davie sixth grader Chris Gonzalez (12-1 at 76), O’Toole and Ellis eighth grader Finn Sink.

Sink went 2-0 at 182 in the tournament to close his overall record at 15-1. Even his one loss was a forgivable one.

“His only loss was when I bumped him up to 195 to get him a match against Mooresville,” Compton said. “Finn was actually undefeated last year before he hurt his foot, and that put him out for the rest of the year. Finn and Carter went to App State for a wrestling camp. They put in all the work. Carter is not a typical eighth grader, and neither is Finn.”

Allen Moxley did not go out as a conference champ – he finished second at 145 – but his eighth-grade season was still pretty special. He went 14-2.

“I bumped him up against O’Toole to get a match,” Compton said of one of Moxley’s losses. “Obviously O’Toole came out on top; he’s a tough kid.”

Ellis had three runner-ups, including Daniel Hennessey (113) and Henry Butler (220). Brodie Newman was third at 250.

The Jaguars finished with a modest 7-6 record, but they will have a chance to make quite a statement in 2024.

“I’m only losing like five guys that were in the starting lineup,” Compton said. “Kids that stand out – guys like Henry Butler and Jackson (Strader) – they did not (finish first), but we’re in a tough conference.”

The Davie teams finished fifth, sixth and seventh in the tournament. The team points: China Grove 172, Erwin 171, West Rowan 169, Mooresville 139.5, North Davie 137.5, Ellis 121, South Davie 104.5, Southeast 88, Corriher-Lipe 63, Selma Burke 26, North Rowan 18.