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Flexing Their Muscles

As the North Davie and Ellis wrestling teams were facing five common opponents, it was tough to decide which team was better.

The common foes were Southeast Guilford, Lexington, Thomasville, Piedmont and South Davie. North and Ellis both went 4-1 in that circle, both suffering their only loss to Piedmont. Ellis’ average score against common opponents was 72-27; North’s was 72-25.

Talk about a toss-up. The North-Ellis clash last week at Ellis looked as close as it gets.

It might have been even on paper, but it was anything but on the scoreboard as North rocked Ellis 66-30. The Wildcats seized 11 of 17 weight classes and recorded 11 pins to three for Ellis.

“We wrestled pretty good,” North coach Jamey Holt said after North improved to 8-1 and dropped Ellis to 7-2. “Even the guys that got beat fought hard and wrestled tough. We had talked about being fighters and leaving it all out there. And the guys did that. So I was pleased.”

Ellis coach Jason Hooker saluted North’s brilliant performance.

“North came ready to wrestle and got after it and never gave up even in the matches they were down in,” he said. “My guys seemed to lose the fight in some situations. Jamey and Timmy (Allen) are doing a great job with their team.”

But it was the Jaguars who jumped to the early lead as the match began at 83 pounds. Bill Trader, Josh Chaffin (9-0 record) and Neil Sparks (8-1) staked Ellis to a 15-0 lead.

“The times I’ve seen Sparks wrestle, he’s been pretty impressive,” Holt said.

The tide turned at 106, where a pin by North’s Blake Budd (6-1) triggered a 24-0 run for the Wildcats. Thad Vandiver (8-1), Larry Roberson (8-1) and Lane Bolmer (9-0) followed Budd in giving North a 24-15 advantage.

“Budd probably wrestled his best match of the year,” Holt said. “I thought that match could be tight.”

Ellis was hindered by not having an 8-0 Crayton Wise at 120. Roberson vs. Wise would have been a big collision.

“Wise is pretty good,” Holt said. “I hate he wasn’t in there because I thought him and Roberson was going to be a good battle.”

One of the defining moments was Lane Bolmer’s matchup with Hayes Sales. Both were unbeaten, but the day belonged to Lane, who handed Sales his first loss in seven matches.

A 10-8 decision by Ellis’ Joey Myers (3-0) cut North’s lead to 24-18. But Holt was very proud of Jacob Rhyne, who charged back after trailing 10-0.

“Jacob got (Myers) to his back,” Holt said. “He couldn’t get a pin call and (Myers) got off. We had five seconds to get him turned again, and he couldn’t get him turned. It was one of the most exciting matches at the end.”

Another defining moment for North was Davis Bishop’s pin at 138. Even though Bishop came in a modest 1-2, he handed Harrison Huff just his second loss in nine matches.

Ellis’ Hunter Strickland (7-2) pinned at 145 to close the gap to 30-24. But once the match got to 152, North started throwing haymakers. Six of the final seven weight classes resulted in North pins.

Luke Bolmer (8-0) pulled off a huge win at 152, the third-period pin keeping his record spotless and ending Kinston Whitner’s unbeaten run at eight.

“That match went back and forth (Luke was ahead 13-9 in the third),” Holt said. “Luke is really a 138 or 145-pounder. He is wrestling up and Whitner is a strong kid. I thought that one would be a close match. I wanted Luke to wrestle somebody good. It doesn’t help him if he wrestles somebody that’s not going to push him.”

Kyree Davis (8-1) knocked off a 7-2 Edwardo Hernandez at 160. Davis has come a long way since last year, when he quit the team before ever getting on the mat for a real match.

“Kyree has done nothing but get better every day,” Holt said. “It’s like every match he does something that impresses you. He got taken down and put on his back. He didn’t panic. He got back to his belly, got up, scored and went to work from there.

“He came back out (this year). He’s matured and really bought into what Timmy and I are trying to get him to do. Hopefully he sticks with it at Davie. He’s definitely got some ability. He’s club wrestling now and wrestling in tournaments.”

C.J. Richardson joined the North pin parade at 170. “He probably wrestled his best match of the year,” Holt said.

Ellis’ lone win down the stretch was a forfeit to Jake Mabe (6-2) at 182. North had a hole there because Fields Halliday (6-2) suffered a knee injury the weekend before.

“I don’t know if we’ll get him back or not,” Holt said.

North wasn’t done. Blake Rummage (8-1), Anthony Olmedo (7-2) and Jesus Olmedo (8-1) provided the exclamation mark with consecutive pins at 195, 220 and 250.

The Wildcats, who ripped Ellis 69-18 last year, took a 7-5 lead in the all-time series.

Even though North beat Ellis thoroughly, you can’t count out the Jaguars in the Jan. 16 rematch. Too many matchups could go the other way.

“There were some surprises up and down the lineup,” Holt said.

“In middle school (a reversal of fortunes) could always happen no matter what the score was the first time,” Hooker said. “Our guys have a goal to work hard and just try to get better by the next time we meet.”

Later in the week, the Wildcats rolled by host Lexington. South Davie (0-8) handed out seven forfeits and lost 53-36 at Thomasville.

The Tigers got pins from Zach Clubb, Dalton McAfee, Preston Robertson, Rakim Clinton, TaSaun Martin and Jackson Cartner.