Clayton continued its early-season dominance, while everybody had at least a little something to celebrate in the Greater Neuse River wrestling duals at Garner on Wednesday night.
The Comets won their two matches easily, drubbing host Garner 52-15 and Southeast Raleigh 72-12. Garner got its first win over Knightdale under coach Ryan Tingle 58-18, while the Knights got a 42-36 squeaker over Southeast that was the Bulldogs’ closest defeat of the season.
“It’s hard to tell much about tonight because we got a lot of forfeits,” said Clayton coach Corey Daker, whose team improved to 6-0 in conference play headed into big holiday matches at Cary and Chapel Hill. “We’ve got four or five kids who might make the state this year including Nick Lines.”
Garner improved to 2-4 in conference action by ending its frustration against the Knights.
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“All the losses have been real close except for Clayton,” Tingle said. “I like our guys’ fight. Even against Clayton when we were losing big we had a lot of tech falls. Guys aren’t getting pinned.
“When you lose on a tech fall and don’t get pinned, you give up five points instead of six. You don’t lose by the other team getting pins, you lose by giving up pins. And our guys are showing a lot of grit.”
Knightdale has only three returning wrestlers from last season’s team.
“We’re doing a great job of improving,” Knightdale coach Alex Von Hoene said. “We’re starting at a very low level, but we’re making really good strides. We had a bunch of forfeits.”
Southeast’s first-year head coach Mike Vassal said he’s happy to see the Bulldogs’ slow but steady improvement.
“The kids are working really hard in practice every day,” Vassal said. “We’re getting their conditioning right and they’re doing their techniques correctly. And it’s showing up in terms of point totals. Every week in our team matches, our point totals increase.”
Clayton senior Nick Lines got a pair of pins, one at 182 and one at 195.
“We’re doing really well in the conference,” Lines said. “So far the only tough match we have had was against Rolesville, and we’ve had to forfeit a lot of spots. And our young guys are getting better every match.”
Knightdale junior heavyweight Cameron Noble had a pair of pins to give him six on the season, one in eight seconds and the other also in the first period.
“We were really loaded last year, but I was a starter,” the big man said. “We’re young this time, but we keep getting better and better. We’re not as good as we’re going to be yet, but I wouldn’t trade these guys for anyone.”
Garner’s senior 113-pounder Cushan Jones had never been on the first unit until this season.
“I’m looking for colleges right now,” said the 5-4 Jones. “I know they’re always looking for guys in the lower weight classes. I know I’m improving, and I like the way the team is, too.”
Southeast senior 225-pounder Jerry Harper picked up a pin and a forfeit on the evening.
“I’m hoping to do well enough to get a chance to wrestle in college,” said Harper, who improved to 9-1. “I know our team is getting better, and myself I just have to keep on working hard.”