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Knights salvage tri-match with win over Lincolnton

North Lincoln’s Steven Jackson pins Grayson Barnette of West Caldwell during their match on Wednesday.

By RYAN HERMAN
Sports Editor

After being dispatched of easily by West Caldwell, both North Lincoln and Lincolnton were hoping to leave the Wolves’ three-team dual wrestling meet Wednesday with a win.
The Knights got it, and Lincolnton was left winless on the year.
North Lincoln had four straight pin falls in the 170- to 220-pound weight classes to knock off the Wolves 54-24 on Wednesday.
Charles Magro (170), Stephen Jackson (182), Elijah Smith (195) and Jimmy Scott (220) gave their team 24 points to turn what was a close dual-team match into a blowout.
“It’s early in the season (so) it’s just good for our guys to get some wins under their belt and start building a program,” North Lincoln coach Matt Avery said. “It was a pretty (big win) especially against a county rival.”
The Knights (3-2) weren’t very aggressive in their match-opening loss to the Warriors, Avery said. But they found their swagger in the nightcap.
They won 10 of the 14 matches, eight by pin fall.
“They actually came out and wrestled that last match. (Against West Caldwell) we weren’t aggressive. That’s one thing I’ve been harping on all year –– be aggressive. If we come out and don’t be aggressive, that’s not acceptable,” Avery said.
For Lincolnton (0-7), it’s left awaiting the bulk of its starters, who are still with the football team.
Right now, the young Wolves are simply trying to get their younger wrestlers time on the mat.
“The young kids are getting mat time to get better. You can drill stuff in practice but it doesn’t (sink in). You’re not going to get better until you get mat time,” Lincolnton coach Brent Gates said.
Gates said that due to so many of his wrestlers still playing football –– Gates also doubles as an assistant to the football team –– he has “seven or eight” wrestlers competing outside of their natural weight class.
Once football season ends, Gates believes things will get better.
“It’s going to be a different wrestling team. I’m not taking anything away from the kids we’ve got now, but it’s experience. I’ve got athletes, but it’s going to be a different team,” he said. “This type of schedule will pay off in the end.”

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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