North Stokes wrestlers are looking to control their opponents each time they hit the mat.
With 18 athletes on the team, nine more than last year, the Vikings look promising. North has already tallied team wins against Bishop McGuinness, a first since 2002, Alleghany, Atkins, South Davidson, and Northeast Guilford.
“Wrestling is a unique sport. If you go out and lose, there’s no one else to blame,” said coach Nicholas Brandes. “Our kids love the idea of winning when it’s easy, but when things become a little difficult they’re learning they have to push and put forth that effort. It requires a lot of self-discipline.”
The Vikings look to be accepting the challenge.
Senior Ross Lucia is undefeated in the 285 weight class with 10 pins. Other double-digit leaders are Scott Jones (195) with 12 wins, Dalton Sawyers (182) and Paden Lungrin (220) each have 10. Sophomore Tristan Fain (170) has nine wins and eight pins.
Brandes and coach Matthew Wise are aiming to qualify as many individually for the state meet by the end of the season. Both believe four to five athletes have the potential to go the distance.
Last year, as a freshman Lungrin qualified for the state tournament.
“He’s wrestling well at this point and working hard. This is his sport,” Brandes said.
North has three freshmen, five sophomores, four juniors, and six seniors on the team this season.
“We have a hodgepodge of ages which is a good thing. We saw a little success last year and that had the kids talking. When that happens, they are our best recruiters,” Brandes said.
The coach believes the varied age groups are working well together.
“We’re seeing some good leadership. The younger kids see when you buy into something it pays dividends in time.”
It’s important to the coaches they continue to develop and stress what you put into the sport is what you’ll get out.
“You can’t just show up and expect success. It’s going to require hard work and time, but it’s going to be worth it,” Brandes said.
Although North is in a challenging 1A Northwest Conference alongside strong programs such as East Surry and Mount Airy, the coach feels they’ll be competitive.
“Our biggest competition is our conference, but everyone has someone that can beat anyone at any given time. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out,” Brandes said.
North hosts their first home wrestling match Wednesday, Dec. 16 where they’ll unveil new mats.
“We’re really appreciative of that, to the school and Mr. Rasey. It’s a big deal to us, and to the kids. We’re looking forward to it.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.