Cary’s 39-21 loss to Fayetteville Jack Britt in the 4A East final of the dual-team wrestling playoffs ensured their spot as the No. 1 team in the N&O Triangle top 15.
The Imps not only have the best record among teams in the area, they advanced the farthest of any school.
Only Cary and No. 3 Orange spent time as the N&O’s No. 1 team this season.
Holly Springs, whose only dual-team losses this year were to state title contenders, finished second. The Golden Hawks lost to Cary 33-31 in the teams’ conference opener.
Orange had a dominating year but, without one of its top wrestlers, was upset in the second round of the 3A playoffs.
Wake Forest-Rolesville (fourth), Sanderson (fifth) and Millbrook (eighth) all tied for the Cap-8 title. They, along with PAC-6 champ Jordan (sixth) and Northern Carolina Conference champ Corinth Holders (seventh), were hard to distinguish all year.
Panther Creek finished at No. 9 after its first-round loss to Jordan.
Greater Neuse River champ West Johnston stayed one spot ahead of Eastern Carolina Conference champ No. 11 Cleveland all year. The two Johnston County rivals were evenly-matched, but West won both head-to-head meetings.
No. 12 Durham School of Arts was Carolina 12 champ and No. 13 Northern Durham was second in the PAC-6.
Fuquay-Varina and Lee County round out the rankings and make for five Tri-9 Conference teams in the top 15. Neither team advanced to the postseason, but both wrestled well in nonconference action.