The venue meant almost as much as the outcome Thursday for Polk County Middle’s wrestling program.
The Wolverines had the opportunity to compete under the spotlight at Polk County High School, their first taste of the sport at the varsity level. The night also offered a rare chance to face a team outside of Polk’s normal slate of Blue Ridge Middle School Conference opponents, the Wolverines battling Cane River Middle from Yancey County.
Cane River emerged with a 54-46 win, that outcome following Polk’s 54-42 loss to Brevard Middle on Wednesday. The close losses reflect the continued improvement that head coach Jason Flynn is seeing daily in his squad as the regular season rolls into its final weeks.
“Much improvement,” Flynn said.
Thursday’s match, though, was as much about the experience as the competition, the night giving the Wolverines a glimpse at what will await once they ascend to the high school level.
“This was great,” Flynn said. “Being under the lights for the first time, the kids were definitely excited about being here. The eighth graders will be here next year, so it’s definitely a great experience for them.”
Malakyu Chavez earned a major decision at 92 pounds for Polk’s first win of the evening. Casey Biler picked up a pin at 108 pounds, with Kaden Jobe also winning by a fall in the third period at 134.
Brady Hall (140), Kanye Staley (162), Lane Smith (197), Ethan Beck (222) and Austin Waters (282) won their matches by forfeit.
In Wednesday’s match at Brevard, Jacob Knighton (115), Hunter Moore (154) and Beck won their matches by pin, with Hall, Kaleb Johnson (172), Smith and Waters winning by forfeit.
“We came out with great energy and focus,” Flynn said of the Brevard match. “I was proud of the effort and the competitiveness we displayed. By far this was our best team performance of the year.”
Polk Middle is slated to be back in action on Monday, hosting Rugby Middle, weather permitting.