The North Lincoln Knights wrestling team clinched the Southern Foothills 1A Conference championship beating Hendersonville 76-4 Friday night.
In just their second year, the Knights went 4-0 in the SF 1A.
It was a special night, not only for the team, but for head coach Chris Falasca, who recorded his 100th career coaching victory.
â€œItâ€™s more about the kids. Iâ€™ve just been really fortunate to be around good kids wherever Iâ€™ve coached. These kids are very special and Iâ€™ve been very lucky to have great parental support, so itâ€™s more about them,â€ he said.
North Lincoln Principal Rick Freeman presented Falasca a plaque for victory 100.
North Lincolnâ€™s goal entering the season was to win the conference championship. With their fourth lopsided win, they did just that.
â€œThat was why the night was special. This was our goal from the beginning of the season. We didnâ€™t expect to do it the way we did as far as outscoring our opponents in the four dual meets the way it worked out, but we are really looking forward to the dual team playoffs,â€ Falasca said.
The Knightsâ€™ moto has beenâ€¦ one team, one family. Before the season, captains werenâ€™t even selected in trying to promote cohesion and the importance of team.
What has been the most important quality the team has embodied?
â€œThe togetherness, work ethic and the fact theyâ€™re so close. They would do anything for each other. The desire is the best thingâ€”theyâ€™re just a really great group of kids,â€ Falasca said.
Brian Funk and Brian Gentry led by example as the seniors both went undefeated the conference. Chad Saunders, Jacob Smith, Derrick Hanks and Aaron Licourt also had unblemished SF 1A seasons.
Falasca believes Funk and Hanks are leaders in their own way.
â€œThey (the whole team) all have moments when they lead. They all step up whenever asked. Brian Funk is the senior leader as far as his mouth and his work ethic and Derrick with his talent. People see what practice can do,â€ he said.
By being king of the Southern Foothills, the Knights earn a slot in the State Dual Team Tournament which gets underway Feb. 1. West Lincoln, who is the favorite to win in 2A, will also represent Lincoln Co.
â€œWest Lincoln is my pick to win it in 2A and hopefully we can just represent North Lincoln well being a 1A school,â€ Falasca said.
Hanks (four losses) and sophomore Aaron Licourt (five losses) have both recorded 23 wins on the year to lead the team. Funk is 19-5.
The group will attempt to follow up their SF 1A title by winning the conference tournament, which they will host Jan. 29 at 9 a.m.
What makes the Knightsâ€™ conference season more impressive is theyâ€™ve won their matches by an average of 50.25 points.
They are 13-6 overall.
North Lincoln 76 Hendersonville 4
103 Derrick Hanks (NL) Forfeit, 112 Aaron Licourt (NL) Pinned Brian Edwards (HE), 119 Brian Gentry (NL) Dec 12 – 1 Mark Todd (HE), 125 Cody Innes (NL) Pinned Daniel Norfleet (HE), 130 Chad Saunders (NL) Pinned Poesoer Malis (HE), 135 Austin Malmberg (NL) Pinned C. Jewel (HE), 140 Wes Suitor (NL) Forfeit, 145 Brian Funk (NL) Forfeit, 152 Josh Weddle (NL) Forfeit, 160 Jacob Smith (NL) Forfeit, 171 Matt Johnson (HE) Pinned Greg Fincham (NL), 189 Scott Wallace (NL) Pinned Tay Chery (HE), 215 Aaron Mintun (NL) Forfeit, Hwt Justin Mintun (NL) Forfeit.by John Mark Brooks