By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The Lynnfield-North Reading co-op wrestling team is in the process of asking the MIAA District Committee to reconsider its decision to end the co-op program this summer.
The MIAA District Committee approved the co-op program for the 2014-2015 season last June but the committee voted to separate the two schools beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.
Black and Gold head coach Craig Stone said last year the committee believed North Reading had enough returning wrestlers to form its own program. The committee determined Lynnfield would have to either establish its own team or establish a new co-op with a different school.
Stone said school officials “have not approached the District Committee as of yet” to request them to reconsider last summer’s decision.
“We are in the process of gathering information and filling out the necessary paperwork at this time,” said Stone.
Stone said the number of wrestlers returning from this past season is the main reason why he is requesting the MIAA District Committee to reconsider its decision.
“Lynnfield has nine wrestlers returning and North Reading has 16,” said Stone. “That’s if they all come back.”
Stone said he believes reinstating the co-op program is the right thing to do because it will “provide a competitive situation both in the practice room and during matches and tournaments.”
“Wrestlers gain experience during practice and JV events to have the skills and confidence necessary to be successful,” said Stone. “Throwing first year wrestlers into varsity matches just to fill the weight class does not create a positive learning environment.”
Stone will be asking to meet with the MIAA District Committee soon. He anticipates the committee will make a final decision to either re-authorize the co-op program or deny the request sometime during the spring.
If the committee does not approve the co-op team’s request, Stone said it could have negative ramifications for both programs going forward.
“Based on present numbers, North Reading will be in a much better competitive situation,” said Stone. “The program at Lynnfield might not exist after next year. However, both teams would not be able to fill the 14 weight classes based on the present weights of returning wrestlers. Lynnfield would forfeit eight weight classes and North Reading would forfeit three. Forfeiting weight classes means the team gives up six points at each dual meet. Assuming the opposing team fills their weight classes, North Reading would be down 18-0 and Lynnfield 48-0 at the start of each meet.”
While Stone said next year’s incoming freshmen class and first-year upperclassmen “could help to fill the void in both teams’ line-up,” he said “that is a variable that is unpredictable at this time.”
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.