Several Forsyth County wrestling teams caught a glimpse at how this years region race might unfold, as Denmark, Lambert, South Forsyth and West Forsyth were in action Tuesday at the Thanksgiving Duals at West Forsyth High School.
Lambert and West each went 5-0 in pool play to finish as the tournament champion. Lambert swept Marist, Riverwood, South, Woodstock and West's 'B' team, while the Wolverines beat Denmark, Lassiter, Mount Pisgah, Oconee County and Roswell.
Lambert, which posted a third-place team finish at last year's Class 7A traditionals state meet, has gotten off to a quick start this season.
"The goal was to kind of continue with that and hopefully fill a few more weight classes and kind of spread out a little bit," Lambert coach Kevin Contardi said. "We had a couple of kids who were actually out today, but we covered those weights with some younger guys and some kids took advantage of some opportunities they were given today."
Elijah Castillo, Thomas Dossett, Ethan Kidd, Camren May, Bryce Middleton, Max Sciro and Drew Wentworth each went undefeated for the Longhorns.
Dossett is a two-time state runner-up, finishing second in the 220-pound weight class as a sophomore before placing second in the 285-pound weight class as a junior.
Contardi said Dossett worked during the offseason to become a true heavyweight, adding almost 40 pounds.
"A lot of it's just been in the weight room," Contardi said. "The older you are, the easier it is. When you're young, it's kind of harder to put that weight on. We'd like to get him a little bit lighter to where he moves a little bit better, but he's obviously gotten to the point where hopefully he can do a little better in the pushing game with some guys that are anywhere from 275 and up as well. He doesn't like the pushing game; he still likes to shoot."
Lambert won 38-33 against Marist, 51-30 against South, 47-22 against West's "B" team, 42-36 against Woodstock and 58-18 against Riverwood.
West steamrolled its way through pool play, with the Wolverines' closest duals match coming in a 45-22 win against Lassiter, which was the Class 6A traditionals runner-up.
West also won 71-12 against Roswell, 60-18 against Oconee County, 55-23 against Mount Pisgah and 61-12 against Region 6-7A foe Denmark.
"When we wrestle region teams, we're going to try to pour it on," West coach Evan Goff said. "I chased some of their good guys down so my guys got good matches. There were some earlier matches where guys were forfeiting my good kids and they didn't get to wrestle a lot today. I bumped some guys early, and I don't like doing that typically. I don't like showing any cards and I'm not going to show any cards until region — like what my goals are. But I like to make a statement against region teams. Some of those guys that may be thinking about descending, I wanted to give them reason not to, like, 'This is what's going to happen if you come down.' Hopefully, we can avoid getting some weight classes stacked up with people moving around."
The Wolverines boast a roster of 75 wrestlers, and despite losing a pair of state champions in Dylan Fairchild and Ethan Rickert to graduation, returners such as Noah Amick, Tony Tanory, Jay Helstone, Reed Walker and Noah Danforth have West in contention.
"Reed has not lost," Goff said. "Reed has been pretty dominant and he's still down there in the weights where he's tough down there. Noah hit a growth spurt and went from 113 to 138, so he's trying to conform to a different style that he's not used to. He was equally powerful down at 113, but he's taking some shots now and finding out that what he could get away with against a 113-pounder, now he's getting stuck underneath guys and it's a challenge for him to get on top of them."
Goff will lean on a combination of Helstone, Turner Bell and Zane Brooks to fill some of West's heavier weight classes.
Brooks came out for the wrestling team as a freshman, then took his sophomore season off before returning last season. Goff said Brooks improved significantly during the offseason.
"Other than like two or three guys in our lineup, everybody started wrestling in ninth grade or beyond," Goff said. "So, a lot of our home run cuts like Noah Amick and Tony Tanory and some of those guys in the meat of the lineup didn't start wrestling until ninth grade. We're relying on committing during the offseason and offseason training, because some of those guys who are wrestling at those weights have six years on them already. So, we're having to make up for lost time with a lot of hard work. That's why I feel like we're doing well now, but we'll be even better once we've had a little bit more time on the mats."
The Wolverines will compete at the Lake Norman Duals, then the Smoky Mountain Duals with North Forsyth before a region showdown with the Raiders Dec. 15.
South also impressed at Tuesday's tournament, finishing 4-1 with its lone loss to Lambert. The War Eagles won 30-12 against West's "B" team, 51-30 against Woodstock, 63-15 against Riverwood and 45-36 against Marist.
Denmark finished 1-4 with a 54-12 win against Roswell. Suleyman Ismailov led the Danes with five victories.