Hello NCMaters, and welcome back to The Grind. About this time of the season all the parents and wrestlers should know exactly what it means by being in the grind of wrestling season. It's a necessary evil, especially for those wrestlers who want to succeed on a higher level. When it's all said and done the memories and relationships will last a lifetime.
With this edition of The Grind, I'm going to start getting into some discussion of the top ranked teams in the state. For this edition, I am going to discuss the 4A classification and the 1A classification.
In the last edition of The Grind, I went into discussion somewhat about high school sanctioned wrestling for girls that are involved in wrestling. A couple of interesting tidbits related to that can be shared. The first is add the state of Wisconsin to the list of states that offer sanctioned wrestling for girls. Kudos to that state for doing the right thing. Next, on the latest NCHSAA Board of Directors agenda list was an interesting item that caught my attention. The agenda stated something along the lines of doing something to raise the number of females involved in wrestling. This is a positive sign and hope the powers that be understand the easiest fix to it is to completely sanction wrestling for girls here in North Carolina. It's beyond time for this to happen.
Looking out across the landscape of wrestling in North Carolina obviously the big news of the state is the early season success of the NC State Wolfpack. Coach Popolizio has that team competing on a higher level and they are highly ranked nationally. The Grind would love nothing more than to see NC State bring home a top 5 finish in the NCAA Championships. Penn State appears to have a firm grip on the top spot, but NC State has made tremendous strides nationally. With the recruiting effort Coach Pop and the rest of the staff put in I suspect the success in Raleigh will only continue from here on.
On the high school level it looks like there is some legitimate competition building up steam in the 4A state dual classification, The Grind views this field as wide open as it's been in a long time. There is no clear cut favorite to win this division as each team appears to have problem spots that can be exposed by opponents. This classification will most likely boil down to damage control across the board for all teams. The teams that appear to have the best shot at advancing deep are (listed alphabetically) Cary, Davie, Lumberton, Mooresville, Purnell Swett, and Ragsdale.
Lumberton and Purnell Swett are newcombers to the state fold and when they're at full strength they will be dangerous for all the other teams that face them. Cary is always the constant in the east whether they're the best or not. Injuries have, and continue, to plague all three of these teams. In the west, Davie may very well be the most solid dual team from top to bottom, and they, like Cary in the east, are always the constant in the west. Davie's advantage is a coach that's been through the grind of the state duals time and time again, and that experience is important the further you advance in the tournament. Mooresville is probably the odds on favorite for the 4A individual state team race, but duals are different altogether Don't let that fool you though, because Mooresville is a legit threat to anybody they face. They're just young in some spots. Ragsdale is also really tough. They are the most athletic team in the field with some experience in the state duals. It wouldn't surprise me to see them advance deep into the state duals. Some other teams to keep your eyes on are Hough, Lake Norman, Glenn, and West Forsyth. Hough got the big win over Lake Norman to put them in the drivers seat of their conference, but Lake Norman is a legit contender with a coach who is as passionate as they come in the game. Glenn has the goods to make a run, but inexperience at some point may come into play. West Forsyth is struggling at the moment, but has the capability to rebound and put forth a very formidable team.
Over in the 1A classification, The Grind believes this is a two team race from the start of the season to the end. Those two teams are Rosewood and Uwharrie Charter Academy. Rosewood is always in the thick of things in the 1A division and has endured the grind of the state duals to hoist the team title while Uwharrie is the new kid on the block so to speak. The new kid may be about ready to take over the throne though, because Uwharrie is TOUGH from top to bottom. When and wherever these two teams meet will make for some serious intensity, because both teams want to win the title bad. Elkin is the next team in this classification with several wrestlers who will score some points for them. Elkin's problem though is perhaps not having enough numbers to be able to keep pace. All three of these teams have outstanding coaching, so The Grind expects all three teams will be adequately prepared when the state duals rolls around.
Other teams that have some good individuals that will score for their teams to push them further in the state duals are Mount Airy and Robbinsville. The constant team in the west on the 1A level is always Mitchell, and they appear ready to make another solid run in the state duals. In the end, however, in the view of The Grind, this classification is all about Rosewood vs Uwharrie.
As for the rules change that was supposed to be the next topic of discussion, I've decided not to really go into this very much, but I will say this. The out of bounds pinning position where the offensive wrestler cannot be on his/her toes is completely and utterly stupid. This rule violates every fundamental proper pin position that coaches should be teaching their wrestlers. Further, this rule requires the official to observe the pinning position of the offensive wrestler, which means the official isn't concentrating on the pin as he/she should be, which is a violation of officiating protocol. From every perspective I can think of this rule is insane, and it should be repealed next season, if not sooner, but don't hold your breath for sooner.
In the Hey, Hey, Hey Segment of this edition, how about the NCHSAA Board of Directors approving the 2 lbs growth allowance for all wrestlers? That's a good thing in spite of the complaints of a few. The Grind does have a problem with the timing of it since some wrestlers had already cut the weight down to make scratch weight. This rule change should have been made prior to the season, but the timing of it shouldn't outweigh the significance of the decision, because this is ultimately a good thing in the opinion of The Grind.
In closing, The Grind would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the family of Jake Morin, who tragically passed away last week. Jake was an outstanding wrestler for the Central Academy of Technology and Arts, which is located in Monroe. The Grind sends those same regards to the team and wishes all who were associated with Jake the absolute best.
That's it for now. Thanks for reading, and until next time..
EMBRACE THE GRIND,
Topic For Next Time: 3A and 2A Duals, tidbits, etc. Bet you can't wait can ya? LOL!