Published in the September 23, 2015 edition


LYNNFIELD — The MIAA District Committee has reauthorized the Lynnfield-North Reading co-op wrestling team for another two years.

The District Committee approved the co-op program for the 2014-2015 season in June 2014, but the committee voted to separate the two schools beginning this school year. Black and Gold head coach Craig Stone said the committee voted to separate the two schools because it felt North Reading had enough wrestlers to form its own program.

The two high schools appealed the decision earlier this year because of concerns surrounding the number of returning wrestlers and the ability for both high schools to field individual wrestling teams.

North Reading High School Principal Anthony J. Loprete, NRHS Athletic Director Dave Johnson, Lynnfield High School Principal Bob Cleary and LHS Athletic Director Mike Bierwirth attended a meeting with the District Committee last Thursday.

“(School officials) spoke very passionately about our program and the positive effect it has had on both of our schools, our students and our communities,” said Stone in an email. “As coach, I cannot attend the meeting, and I am sure without our administrators’ tremendous support and enthusiasm, this would not have happened.”

Stone said the Black and Gold will once again be participating in Division 3 and the Cape Ann League this winter. He said there are nine Lynnfield wrestlers and 16 North Reading wrestlers returning, which Stone said, “Was the fundamental reason for re-establishing the co-op.”

“The intangibles brought forward by our administrators most definitely helped move this proposal forward,” Stone added.

Stone is currently working on the Black and Gold’s schedule for the upcoming season, which should be completed by the end of October. He also encouraged the 25 returning wrestlers to kick their off-season training regiment into high gear as well as recruit new wrestlers.

The co-op team will also be holding a pre-season meeting in November.

The Black and Gold formed in 2005. The grapplers compiled a combined a 25-37 record over the course of the team’s first three seasons. The Black and Gold have had a winning record the past eight seasons with a combined 157-41 dual meet record.

The grapplers have won three Cape Ann League championships and won three Division 3 North Sectional Championships. The Black and Gold’s best state place finish was second in 2014. The grapplers also finished 10th in 2013 and 14th in 2015.