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Knights romp in intracity dual

Red River wrestler Dalton Byrne (right) hooks his arms around Central's Mike Erickson in the 145-pound weight class event at Central high School on Saturday night. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald1 / 3
Wrestlers Mike Erickson (left), of Grand Forks Central, and Dalton Byrne (right), Grand Forks Red River, grapple during the 145-pound match Saturday night at Central High School. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald2 / 3
Red River's Micaiah Peterson grapples with Central wrestler Evan Bridgeford in the 152-pound weight class event Saturday night at Central High School. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald3 / 3

The outcome practically was determined before a match was wrestled Saturday night. But that's not on Josh Isassi's mind as he prepared for his match.

"The team score doesn't affect me,'' the Grand Forks Central High School sophomore said. "I don't think about it. You always go out trying to wrestle your best. Individually, nobody wants to lose.''

Central rolled to a 66-9 win over visiting Grand Forks Red River in the annual intracity dual. The Knights were ahead 36-0 before a wrestler took the mat, a result of Red River forfeiting the first six weight classes. The big lead didn't lessen incentive.

"The rivalry thing is pretty big,'' Isassi said. "But just not losing is bigger than the rivalry.''

Minus the forfeits, Central still won decisively. The Knights won six of the eight matches that were wrestled; they held a 30-9 advantage in team points in those matches.

Isassi, Alec Humble, Ben Stevens and Will Rohrich won by pins for Central, with Mike Erickson and Andy Hernandez taking decisions.

"We've had that situation three times in the last few weeks,'' Central coach Jeff Welsh said of the big lead due to opponents' forfeits. "You challenge the kids to compete. You don't want to win on forfeits. You want to win with the matches being wrestled.

"You want them to perform well for themselves. And you want to build confidence and roll into the regional tournament (to be held next Saturday) on a high.''

Welsh said the dual went pretty much as expected.

Red River received wins from Jaden Haugen, one of the top-ranked 182-pounders in the state, and Micaiah Peterson. Peterson had the dual's most dramatic win, scoring four points in the final 10 seconds on a takedown and a 2-point nearfall to rally past Evan Bridgeford 4-2.

Wrestling with all the forfeits, Red River coach Stephen Holten said, "is hard, especially in a rivalry. You go out there and look at it as the rivalry. Yes, it's a team sport. But (as a wrestler) you have to look at it individually, to go out giving your best.''

Central closed the regular season with a 10-16 dual record, while Red River finished 1-18.