North bounces back, beats Ellis wrestling

Published 2:34 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

North Davie’s wrestling team fell at West Rowan by a narrow margin, but the Wildcats atoned for that with a convincing win over Ellis.

North edged West Rowan 54-48 on Nov. 13, but the Bulldogs flipped the script on Dec. 4 by defeating North 58-48. A major loss to injury was a big reason for the reversal in fortunes. In the first meeting, Jaden Dillard recorded one of North’s seven pins, but the unbeaten 160-pounder suffered a season-ending injury a couple of weeks ago and North sorely missed him as it watched its nine-match winning streak come to an end.

North actually had more pins (7-6), but it had to forfeit three weight classes. The pinners were Dominic Ishuin (83), Graylan Anderson (106), Taylor Shenberger (132), Isaac O’Toole (145), Peyton Jordan (160), Nathan Smith (195) and DJ McCaskill (250).

ND 66, Ellis 36

At North on Dec. 6, the Wildcats responded brilliantly to their first loss in weeks. They grabbed 12 of 18 weight classes and beat Ellis for the eighth time in a row.

“Our eighth graders really stepped up and answered the bell,” North coach Jamey Holt said after his team closed the regular season at 11-2. “I challenged them that the match would be won from 106-152, and my crystal ball did not lie.”

Getting pins for North were Chris Gonzalez (76), Ishuin (83), Jacob Sides (120), Shenberger (132), Jack Greer (145), O’Toole (152), Jailen Westmoreland (160), Smith (220) and McCaskill (250).

“Sides’ pin at 120 was definitely a plus,” Holt said. “I thought that match could go either way, but Jacob comes out and hits a headlock and had it locked up tight.

“We didn’t know if they would match up (Allen) Moxley with Isaac, but Isaac went out there and was committed to his attacks and solid with his technique. He has a bright future ahead of him.”

Anderson (106) and Jason Riddle (126) were decision winners.

“Jason got down a few points but worked back and took the lead late in the second period,” Holt said. “He couldn’t get his cradle locked up, but he rode out the third period to close it out. Big win for us there.”

For Ellis (7-6), Austin Eggers (90), Conner Cornatzer (98), Daniel Hennessey (113) and Finn Sink (182) produced pins. But the only other two wins were forfeits and this marked the Jaguars’ third straight loss (not counting a forfeit from West Rowan). Two days before traveling to North, Ellis lost for the second time in six days to Mooresville.

SD 90, Burke 18

Five days after mashing the Bears by 72 points, South Davie enjoyed another breezy win over visiting Selma Burke.

Zion Lyons (120), Dreighton Lunnerman (126), Xander Proctor (152), Caleb Edwards (160), Colsen Dulin (182), Colten Beck (83), Rico Evans (98) and KJ McClelland (106) had the eight pins as the Tigers pushed their winning streak to three.

At this point, three Tigers were still perfect: Paster at 11-0, Evans 10-0 and C. Dulin 7-0.

Paster has flourished as an eighth grader, and Evans has been wildly impressive as a sixth grader.

“Brandon’s one of our leaders,” coach Russell Hilton said. “He has wrestled for three years, and his hard work is paying off this year.

“Rico is very athletic. He can get on your legs and take you down anytime he wants to. He’s just relentless on top with a half.”

Edwards was 10-1 at this point. Proctor, Jason Voss and Lunnerman were all 8-2.

WR 60, SD 48

The Tigers watched a 30-0 lead evaporate and they fell to 1-6 in matches decided by 12 points or less. But there was no shame in losing to visiting West Rowan on Dec. 7, not after getting blown out by 63 points in the first meeting.

Edwards (160), Brandon Paster (195), Kason Dozier (220), McClelland (106), Lunnerman (132) and Proctor (152) came through with pins for the Tigers (5-9), who built the 30-0 lead from 160 through 220. West ripped off 36 unanswered points between heavyweight and 113. South was within 48-42 late, but missing two starters proved too much to overcome. Evans was sick and Jack Nail is out with a broken hand.

“I think Rico beats their 98-pounder,” Hilton said. “We didn’t make weight at 113.”

C. Dulin won by injury default at 182. Edwards’ pin was particularly impressive because he bumped up a weight class to 160.

“Caleb beat a really good kid,” Hilton said. “Caleb was like: ‘I’ve got it, I’ll wrestle him.’ He put him on his back in the first period and pinned him in the second. That’s the confidence that he has. He wants to beat the guy that is good.”