Warriors look to roll with youth

Published 9:02 pm Saturday, December 6, 2014

A young Nansemond River High School wrestling team got its 2014-15 season off to a rough start on Wednesday, but Warriors coach James “Tripp” Seed said his wrestlers were showing improvement on Friday as they competed in the Norfolk Kick-Off Classic.

NR started the year off with a home tri-match against Grassfield High School and King’s Fork High School. The Warriors defeated the Bulldogs 62-18, but first fell 60-18 to the Grizzlies.

“I thought we’d give them a little better match than what we did,” Seed said of the Grizzlies.

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The make-up of the Warriors’ team is a bit different from the one last season that won both the Ironclad Conference and the Region 4A South tournaments, but Seed does not expect the team’s performance to be drastically different this season.

“We’re rebuilding a little bit, but we’re still going to compete regardless,” he said.

It will be without two key wrestlers who have graduated — 120-pound regional champion Nick Garland and 126-pound regional runner-up Donya Craig.

Senior 160-pound regional champion Leon Lynch is not wrestling this year.

Some younger wrestlers that Seed was looking to have in the lineup are not on the team this year, but his expectations are still high with regard to the group that he does have.

“We should be a top-five team in the region, that’s my prediction,” he said. “We’re going to send five to seven guys to states.”

He listed five wrestlers among his foremost standouts this year.

Junior Malcolm Dawson was regional runner-up and finished sixth in the state at the Group 4A level last year in the 106-pound weight class. He returns this year and will wrestle in the 113-pound class.

Senior James Boone will also move up a weight class to 120 pounds. Last year, he was regional runner-up and finished fourth in the Group 4A state in the 113-pound class.

Sophomore Dia Gray will again wrestle in the 285-pound class after a sensational freshman season in which he was regional runner-up and finished fifth in the Group 4A state.

Seed said those three wrestlers can make the state finals this year.

Senior Hunter Hill, who will wrestle at 132 pounds, and senior Jacob Clark, who will wrestle at 138, are two that Seed said should place at the state tournament.

Sophomore 106-pounder Ryan Ledesma, senior 145-pounder Davon Adams and junior 152-pounder Malik Neely could be up-and-comers who make an impact as the season progresses.

Nansemond River held a record of 3-1 as of early Saturday morning after one day of competition in the Norfolk Kick-Off Classic.

“We got a big win last night,” Seed said on Saturday morning, noting the Warriors defeated Kempsville High School 42-37. “We’re improving.”

The Warrior continued their participation in the Classic later Saturday morning and afternoon.