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North wrestling making waves

December 14, 2016
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

How did North Fort Myers High School sophomore Adolphus Taylor lose in the finals in the 285-pound class at the Captain Archer Memorial wrestling tournament in Punta Gorda on Saturday?

How about by the flip of a coin?

That was what separated him from being the first North wrestler to ever win that prestigious tournament at Charlotte High School.

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Despite that, the Red Knight grapplers had to be pleased by the way they performed, placing a surprising eighth as a team and putting two on the podium, Taylor and Logan Snukus, who took third in the 182-pound class.

Coach Jessie Suster has put together a crew that has not only taken to the sport, but stayed with it, building up its numbers.

The result has been success beyond just the handful of individual wrestlers. This may be the best and deepest team North has had in years.

"We're scrappy, very young and have a lot of tough kids. A lot of second-year kids," Suster said. "We filled the room last year and got good numbers back this year. We have a full team and it makes a big difference."

As in life, half the battle is showing up. North can put up 14 wrestlers for any dual meet or tournament, meaning they don't give up easy six-point forfeits. Suster did not give up a forfeit last year and looks to do the same this year, going two-deep in every weight class.

Suster has gotten the help of North football coach Earnest Graham to bring in the big kids and keep them in the room. All the 160-pound plus wrestlers are football players. The smaller ones played freshmen football.

"All the things we do in the wrestling room they do on the football field. Wrestling is a physical sport, we do a lot of conditioning, so you make it fun and get them in as many matches as you can and keep them involved," Suster said.

Peter Joseph (126), Michael Moore (152) and Snukus are the three senior leaders on the team. Moore, nicknamed "The Mask" for the mask he wears in matches, said this season has been great so far.

"We have new coaching and continue to have people return and are training harder this year," Moore said. "Two years ago, we had about eight or nine wrestlers. Now we get more cardio in practice with everyone here."

Moore finished fifth winning his final three matches. Snukus defeated Port Charlotte's Winston Buckley in the third-place match at 182.

For Taylor, the match was all about escapes as neither he nor Jessie Smith of Dixie-Hollins were able to get a takedown.

Tied 1-1 after regulation, neither man scored in the first overtime. Taylor lost the toss, meaning he had to be on top for the second OT, allowing Smith to escape to take the lead.

Taylor turned the tables in the second from the bottom to retie the match in the third OT, but Smith went back to the bottom in the fourth OT and got the escape and second point to win.

"We wanted him to push it to the max and see what would happen. We knew it would be like that," Suster said. "It was big-boy wrestling."

"It comes down to conditioning. In the end, I didn't have enough," Taylor said. "That could have been me."



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