Riddle seals thrilling win for North wrestling

Published 12:24 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Jason Riddle experienced a magic moment and lifted North Davie’s streaking wrestling team past visiting West Rowan in a 54-48 thriller on Nov. 13.

The match began at the 138 weight class and concluded at 132. North’s 48-30 lead had evaporated as the Bulldogs rattled off three straight pins. It was 48-48 with the outcome hanging in the balance when Riddle stepped onto the mat at 132. He was trailing 4-3 in the third period, but he applied a headlock with 25 seconds remaining that resulted in a pin. It was all mayhem when the referee slapped the mat.

“The bench went crazy, guys jumping up and down,” coach Jamey Holt said. “They almost went out on the mat and tackled Jason after the ref slapped the mat.”

It was the kind of glorious moment that every athlete cherishes, especially an eighth grader who is in the starting lineup for the first time in his career.

“He wasn’t sure if he wanted to do it his eighth-grade year,” Holt said. “He’s a three-year guy getting his first starting duty, so it was good to see him come through in that spot. He’s a hard worker in the room, so it was well deserved for Jason. I’m super proud of him.”

North turned in seven pins, the other six coming from Chris Gonzalez (76), Graylan Anderson (106), Taylor Shenberger (138), Isaac O’Toole (152), Jaden Dillard (160) and Nathan Smith (195).

Riddle wasn’t the only one who rose to the occasion. Dominic Ishuin (83) and Connor Gannon (98) pulled out hard-fought decisions of 14-9 and 10-7, respectively.

“Dominic gutted out a win,” Holt said. “He couldn’t pin the guy when we got him on his back, and then we got put on ours. He fought off and took back control to finish it off.

“Connor had a huge win late. Their guy had a little strut to him and had me worried early, but Connor outwrestled him in the last two periods to win by three. He got a big takedown late to seal the decision.”

Notes: The win kept North (6-1) in a tie for first place. Erwin, China Grove and West Rowan also have one loss. … The Wildcats have a five-match winning streak despite not having their heavyweight for five matches.

SD 56, Moor 42

After dropping three straight, after enduring losses by 12, one, four and 11 points, South Davie found a way in a home match against Mooresville on Nov. 8. The Tigers were missing eighth graders Xander Proctor and Brandon Paster – both were under the weather – but they still managed to pull out a much-needed 56-42 win.

“We finally put it together (despite missing) two of my hammers,” coach Russell Hilton said. “We’re battling the flu right now. It was nice to pull a close one out.”

Anthony Ciancimino (76), Colten Beck (83) and Dreighton Lunnerman (132) came through with pins. Rico Evans (90) rolled up a technical fall. Kason Dozier (220) won a decision.

But the biggest difference-makers were KJ McClelland (106) and Zion Lyons (126). They both survived tense decisions, with Lyons squeaking out a one-point victory.

“Zion had to scrap one out,” Hilton said. “It was a tough match. KJ and Zion wrestled as hard as they possibly could. Both of those guys showed a lot of heart.”

McClelland faced a 6-2 deficit going into the third period. Amazingly, he would win going away, 15-9. Not bad for a sixth grader.

“KJ beat a really tough kid,” Hilton said. “They went at it. You could tell the kid was way more experienced than KJ, but he held him on his back to get back points.”

WR 87, SD 24

The Tigers carried none of the momentum it had from the Mooresville match when it traveled to West Rowan on Nov. 16. That’s because they were missing nine starters and had to forfeit six weight classes.

The result was their worst loss of the season.

Proctor, Paster, McClelland and Lyons all had pins, but those four accounted for all the scoring for South (2-6).