High School Wrestling
Northgate splits with Chiefs, Patriots
by Doug Gorman
Northgate wrestling coach John Waters isn't gauging the success of the Vikings solely on the outcome of his team's performances outside of area tournaments.
He'd rather get them ready for making a run at the traditional area meet in early February.
It was as much a reason why Waters scheduled Wednesday's a rare home meet with Area 4-AAAAA rival McIntosh and non-area foe Sandy Creek.
In the end, the Vikings split the team competition, losing 57-21 against McIntosh and taking advantage of a depleted Sandy Creek Club to garner several forfeits to beat the Patriots 58-30.
For Waters in his first year as head coach, there was a lot to take from Wednesday's home meet.
'I thought we wrestled well even against McIntosh,' Waters said. 'They gave us some close ones. We have some freshman in the lineup and they are learning and doing well.'
Waters is still juggling his lineup in an effort to find the right combinations as several Viking wrestlers moved up in weight class, including Michael Geres, who lost at 113 against McIntosh, but finished the night with a pin against Sandy Creek when he moved up to 120 pounds.
When it comes down to earning a spot at the region and state meet, Geres is expected to compete at 113.
Ryan McNeal also wrestled in two different weight classes, getting a pin at 126 against the Chiefs, but losing when he moved to 132 to compete against Sandy Creek.
One of the most impressive performance came from a freshman Dalton Elliott who got a pin at 195 against McIntosh.
'He came through for us tonight,' Waters said. 'He is getting a lot better.'
In one of his first returns to the mat after being injured, Drew Latham added a pin at 285-pounds for the Vikings against the Chiefs.
'Drew really came through for us tonight,' Waters said. 'It is good to have him back.'
Northgate picked up back-to-back wins against McIntosh with McNeal getting his pin at 126 and Angel Fuentes picking up an 8-4 decision in his 132-pound match. Fuentes was set to wrestle at 138 against Sandy Creek, but picked up a forfeit instead.
Fuentes' victory against McIntosh cut the lead to 30-21, but it was the last time victory of the night against for the Vikings as the Chiefs won the last four matches of the night. Northgate took a big lead against Sandy Creek before the wrestling action even got started as it the Patriots forfeited 195, 220 and 285.
After dropping matches at 106 and 113, Geres got Northgate back on track with a pin to push the team score to 24-9.
The Vikings final victory on the mat came as Brady McCloud pinned his opponent in the 152-pound division.
Northgate picked up forfeits at 138 and 182 to round out the scoring.
Waters admits some of his team's growing pains aren't unexpected.
'We are young and we are just learning how to work,' Waters said. 'It's difficult for some of our younger wrestlers understand that they have to push themselves, but they are starting to catch on.
Waters said hosting the dual meet was a lot of fun.
'We had a good crowd, here,' he said. 'Our guys are working hard, and it's good to see them getting the support.'