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2008-2009 Wrestling Season
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Front Row: Solice WIlliams, Thomas Bady, E.J. Easley, Dion Robinson, Lewis Bady, Dasha Strother. Back Row: Assistant Coach Peter Yang, Awil Nur, Donte Green, Carlton Littlejohn, Jessie Williams, Head Coach Jaime Wright.
 

The 2008-2009 wrestling season began with high hopes of a conference championship.  The team returned 10 wrestlers, including state participant Carlton Littlejohn with a promising crop of freshmen joining the team.  However, the hopes died before the first match of the season.

 

North opened the season with their only home match.  Roosevelt faced South in the first bout.  North then played South in the second bout.  However, earlier that day, the Polars lost three wrestlers.  Two were lost because parents pulled them from the team for poor grades.  A third was lost due to an injury he suffered before

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Elijah Easley: Junior—Third year wrestling—Also plays football and baseball—Earned four letters (two in wrestling and two in baseball)—Named “Most Improved Wrestler” (2007-2008)—Known to his teammates as “E.J.”—Wrestling has a high level of difficulty. It is quite different than what you see on T.V.
the season began.  Because of this, North was loaded with wrestlers in the higher weight classes and had few in the lighter classes.  What hurt also was that the lighter-weight wrestlers did not show up for the match.  Three “exhibition” matches were held before the regular event.  These were held because both schools had wrestlers who did not participate in the Varsity event.  The first exhibition featured North Romondo Kendrick.  Kendrick kept the match close after the first period, losing 1-0 against South’s Divante Parness.  Parness pinned Kendrick at the 1:29 mark of the second period.  Freshman Thomas Bady can out very aggressive in his first high school match.  South’s Jason Hagen, a senior, soon showed what experience was and pinned young Bady at the 1:27 mark of the first period.  The final exhibition featured North freshman
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Donte Green: Junior—Third year wrestling—Also plays football and baseball—Earned five letters (two each in baseball and wrestling, one in football)—Named “All Conference” in football (2008-2009).
Jessie Williams and South’s Louia Jones, two heavyweights.  Williams can out fast and furious, but Jones’ one year of experience soon took control and Williams was pinned (0:47 of first period).  The Varsity match began with neither school having a 103 pound wrestler.  South then compiled a 60 point lead winning the next 10 weight classes in walkovers.  The first match pitted North’s Emmanuel Perry, a sophomore, against South’s Gordon Hill at 189 pounds.  Hill pinned Perry at the 1:18 mark of the first period.  Carlton Littlejohn then faced South’s Chris Hill at 215.  The first period ended in a 0-0 tie.  Littlejohn gave up a one point escape to start the second period, but gained a 2-1 lead with a quick take down.  Littlejohn dominated the third period scoring another takedown and giving the South wrestler an escape.  Dion “Cookie”
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Carlton Littlejohn: Junior—Third year wrestling—Also plays football and baseball—Earned six letters (two each in football, wrestling and baseball)—Named “All Conference” in three sports, football (2008-2009), wrestling (2007-2008) and baseball (2007-2008)—Named Most Improved Player” in both wrestling (2006-2007) and baseball (2006-2007), Named “Most Dedicated Player” in baseball (2007-2008) and “Defensive Most Valuable Player” in football (2008-2009)—Earned a berth in the 2007-2008 Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament as an individual—Carlton loves the wrestling tournaments that the team participates in. He also enjoys slamming other people to the mat. He says that there is more running in wrestling than people realize. This causes wrestlers to be in great physical shape.
Robinson represented North against Brent Martin in the Heavyweight division.  Robinson fought hard, but Martin won the match 12-3.  South won the team event 70-3.

 

The second date of the season was the next day.  North travelled to Columbia Heights to participate in a quadrangular with Heights, Totino-Grace and DeLaSalle.  The Polars lost all three matches, 36-6 to Columbia Heights, 81-0 to Totino Grace, and 63-6 to DeLa Salle.  North’s only points were scored by Carlton Littlejohn

 

For the third straight day, the wrestlers participated in a wrestling meet.  There was a question whether the team would even attend the meet.  The question was not because of

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Awil Nur: Junior--First year wrestling.
something the players or coach did, the bus did not show up on time.  The team was supposed to leave North a 6:30 a.m.  At 6:50 a.m., Head Coach called Jeff Buszta, the North Athletic Director (and woke him up) asking where the bus was.  Three telephone calls and one computer look up later, the bus finally arrived at 7:10.  The team made the event and was fairly successful.  In the team standings, North finished ahead of South, who defeated the Polars two days earlier.  The worst finish of the Polar wrestler was Dion Robinson, who finished in sixth place.  Emmanuel Perry, who wrestled at 215 pounds for the first time, finished in second place.  Carlton Littlejohn returned to his 189 pound class and was a champion at the meet for the second year in a row.

 

The next match was a quad against St. Croix

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Dion Robinson: Freshman—Second year wrestling—Also plays football and baseball—Earned two letters (one each in wrestling and baseball)—Named “Rookie of the Year in wrestling (2007-2008)—Nicknamed “Cookie” by his teammates—Dion says wrestling is very hard work, but it is also very fun. The challenge of being in the spotlight can be good and bad, since you cannot rely on any teammates when it is your turn to wrestle. If you win, it is good, if you lose, it can be bad.
Lutheran, Benilde St. Margaret and Minnetonka.  The match against Benilde was one of the quickest in history.  Neither team wrestled a match because the weights did not match.  Because Benilde had more wrestlers, they won 60-24.  Minnetonka won 69-10 and St. Croix Lutheran won 72-12.

 

North had two more conference matches against Washburn and Roosevelt.  North lost both, 48-6 to Washburn and 36-18 to Roosevelt. 

 

North then participated in a team tournament.  The first match was against St. Croix Lutheran.  St.

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Jessie Williams: Freshman—First year wrestling—Also plays football—Earned one letter (football)—Jessie is attracted to wrestling because it is the hardest sport to play.
Croix won 72-12.  The Polars then wrestled Ogilvie and lost 66-15.  Rockford then defeated the Polars 54-17.  In the match for 7th place, Braham won a close match 24-17. 

 

The Polars then traveled to DeLaSalle to take on the Islanders and Brooklyn Center.  The Polars lost both, 72-6 to Brooklyn Center and 42-21 to DeLaSalle. 

 

The Polars added two more matches to their schedule when they traveled to Henry.  The team wrestled Henry and Lost 45-21.  The team gained

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Thomas Bady: Freshman—First year wrestling—Thomas decided to wrestle because it sounded like a good sport that he could push himself to the limit in. He believes it is the hardest sport in high school.
their first win of the season against Edison, 30-18.

 

The following Saturday the team travelled to Brooklyn Center and wrestled in another tournament.  The team finished ninth against a field that consisted of five Class AAA schools.

 

For the second year in a row, the team found controversy at the St. Croix Lutheran tournament.  The team wrestled hard, but the coach and players felt one official would not give the wrestlers a fair shake.  This same official had the coaching staff feel the same way the prior year.  The team finished in 7th place.

 

The final conference meet of the season was at Edison

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Lewis Bady: Freshman—First year wrestling.
against Southwest.  The Polars did their best, but lost 54-17.

 

The final tournament of the regular season was at Eastview.  Nine of the 12 schools were from Class AAA.  The Polars finished eleventh.

 

The next match has been the Twin City crossover match.  This year, it was decided to just have the conference team champions wrestle. 

 

In the region, the team was seeded 11th and would face Rogers in the opening round.  Rogers

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Dasha Strother: Junior--First year as wrestling manager.
won easily because of North’s lack of small-weight wrestlers.  In the seven weight classes that North did have, the team won three. The final scores was Rogers 61, North 15.

 

The team then went to Individual Regions the following weekend.  The story of the meet was Carlton Littlejohn.  For the second year in a row Littlejohn advanced to the State Tournament.  Two teammates, Donte Green and E.J. Easley, came close to joining him at the tournament, but both fell short, finishing 4th and 5th respectively.  The remainder of the team did extremely well, despite being young.  Only one wrestler failed to advance to the second day of competition.

 

At the State Tournament, Littlejohn wrestled a superb opening match. 

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Peter Yang: Assistant Coach--Second year at North.
He scored a two-point take-down to grab the lead.  His opponent gained one point back on an escape to open the second period.  Littlejohn and his opponent exchanged one point to give Littlejohn a 3-2 lead.  With 17 seconds remaining, the opponent grabbed Littlejohn’s leg and would not let go.  Three seconds later he scored a two point take-down on Littlejohn and gained a 4-3 victory.  Littlejohn’s tournament ended there because his opponent lost in the next round, thus negating any chance Littlejohn had in the wrestlebacks.

 

End of the season awards were given to: Most Valuable Wrestler: Carlton Littlejohn; Co-Most Improved Wrestlers: Donte Green, Emmanuel Perry and Dion Robinson.  Littlejohn, Green, Perry and Robinson were also named All-Conference.