02/12/04 — Massey-Lynn feature for Thursday

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Massey-Lynn feature for Thursday

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 12, 2004 2:00 PM

PIKEVILLE -- The success surrounding Charles B. Aycock's wrestling team this season can be attributed to its ability to collect critical points in consolation-round matches.

Sophomore Jackson Massey and freshman Ronald Lynn can definitely take partial credit in several of the Golden Falcons' top-five finishes this season due to their outstanding efforts in the wrestlebacks. Each grappler has returned home with his fair share of medals, and each has helped Aycock add considerable hardware to an already-overflowing trophy case.

"These two young men have been a crucial part of our success this year," Aycock coach Kevin Smith said. "When you watch them wrestle, it is often hard to believe that they are both underclassmen. Their attitude is always positive, and they are always willing to learn.

"Both young men are an absolute pleasure to coach."

Each grappler moved up a weight class this season.

Massey wrestled 119 a year ago, but is at 125. Lynn competes at 135, a spot vacated by Blake Brockmeyer, who now wrestles at 140. Brockmeyer has filled the void left by all-state performer Ryan Batts, who is a freshman at N.C. State.

Massey (25-11) emerged the champion in the Hunt Invitational. He collected second-place finishes at the Swiss Bear, Eagle Invitational, Falcon Invitational and the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference Championships.

Lynn, whose older brother Billy was a two-time state qualifier, has experienced some growing pains at times on the mat. His top finish was a runner-up effort in the ECC Championships. Lynn (25-12) placed third at the Eagle Invitational, fourth at the Hunt Invitational and sixth overall at the Sara Wilkes tournament.

"Jackson and Ronald are wrestling like upperclassmen right now," Smith said. "They know they are working hard enough to experience success and that confidence shows on the mat."

Each grappler has his own set of tactics when stepping onto the mat.

Massey usually extends an opponent the full six minutes and is extremely strong on his feet. He sets goals for himself and remains focused on achieving those goals.

"Jackson takes losses and learns from them, and the lessons he learns from those losses become his goals," Smith said. "In every case this year, Jackson has avenged an early loss or shown great improvement in wrestling that opponent again.

"That is the sign of a wrestler who is going to achieve great things in his career."

Lynn approaches his opponent with a workman-like mentality and depends on his aggressiveness to gain the early advantage. Some of that physical style might have come from his older sibling, who wrestled 215 as a junior and split time at 215 and heavyweight as a senior.

"Ronald's strength revolves around his attitude," Smith said. "He works extremely hard in the room (and) I believe that every time Ronald wrestles, he knows that he has a chance to win.

"He knows this because he is working hard in the wrestling room every single day."

Smith isn't sure where either wrestler will be seeded for this week's N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional at White Oak in Jacksonville. But he'll be surprised if neither is among the top eight in their respective weight class when the 16-team bracket is officially announced.

Then again, he knows that each will undoubtedly give their best effort -- win or loss.

"Both young men represent what the coaching staff and I want out of our young wrestlers," Smith said. "We want them to drill hard in practice, wrestle hard on the mat and listen to what we say. Both wrestlers set a great example for other young men in the room.

"These young men will be cornerstones of our program for the remainder of their high school career. I am very excited to see just how great these two wrestlers will become in the coming years."

Note: This is the fourth in a week-long series profiling some of the area's top wrestlers as they prepare for the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern individual regional championships. Friday's feature, the final in this series, will focus on Greene Central's tandem of Jimmy Edmonds and Justin St. John.