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Wrestling: North Forsyth defeats Forsyth Central for program's 500th win
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North Forsyth wrestler Elias Koehler works on a pin during the Raiders’ match against Forsyth Central on Friday at home. - photo by Brian Paglia

North Forsyth wrestling coach Travis Jarrard grabbed the microphone after the Raiders’ 61-6 victory against county and Area 5-7A opponent Forsyth Central on Friday to announce the program had reached 500 dual wins in school history.

A smattering of applause ensued. North wrestlers were unmoved as they shook hands with their Bulldogs. There wasn’t much time to celebrate anyways; the Raiders had another match.

North won that one too, 69-6 against Parkview, to improve to 24-3 this season and already marching toward the next milestone.

501 wins and counting.

“That’s a big deal,” Jarrard said. “I think it means that the program has been sustaining itself for a long time.”

Indeed, ever since the very first dual victory in North’s very first season during the 1994-95 school year, the Raiders have steadily crossed off bigger and bigger milestones: 100 wins in 2002; 200 in 2006; 300 in 2010; and 400 in 2013. Former head coaches Jim Bishop and Rich Lowe led some of the wins, but the bulk have been during Jarrard’s now-17 years at the helm. He earned his personal 400th career dual win at North last season.

After win No. 499 against Cambridge earlier in the evening, a 54-14 victory, North went to work clinching the milestone one with precision.

After Riley Wheeler’s 11-3 decision at 145 pounds, the Raiders reeled off five straight pins by Nathan Grimes (152), Bradley Thomas (160), Connor Carroll (170), Andy Leggett (170) and Brantley Little (182) to take a commanding 34-0 lead.

There were close calls, to be sure. Paul Watkins escaped a near-pin by Central’s Parker Evans for a 12-8 decision at 120 to remain undefeated this season. Mason Wacker held off Bulldogs sophomore Jake Gardner for a 6-4 decision at heavyweight.

But even in the two matches North lost, Jarrard found sources of optimism.

Like Cade Jensen’s 10-5 loss to Central’s Sebastian Legarra at 220.

“Sebastian pinned him last year,” Jarrard said.

Or freshman Tate Bissell’s 6-2 loss to Central senior Hunter Kurowski at 132.

“He wrestled a real good Kurowski kid,” Jarrard said.

“I was real happy with what I saw,” added Jarrard, who noted other standout performances from Grimes, Bryce Touchstone (120), Walid Abdullahi (113) and Elias Koehler (106).

“Not giving up a pin is always our No. 1 goal in every match. We feel like if we can do that then we’re going to win every dual, and we did it against a good solid team. Central’s got a much better squad than what that score right there indicates.”