Mooresville’s Sam Crisp had given up wrestling as his brother, John, was setting a then-Blue Devil career wins record and earning two top-four state finishes.“Whenever I was in fifth grade, I quit wrestling,” said the younger Crisp, who had picked up the family tradition in kindergarten. “I just hated the sport.”But seeing John leave Mooresville without a much-desired state championship in 2007 pushed Crisp, now a senior, to give wrestling another shot.“His senior year, he didn’t make it to the finals, he didn’t place,” the 17-year-old recalled.“Seeing my dad in tears just touched my heart. I knew I had to get back into it and at least take a chance to stand on top of that podium.”Mooresville coach Ben Watson has noticed how much Crisp’s older brother has motivated him.“It’s a challenge for him to match what his brother has done or to better his brother,” said Watson. “I’ve coached a couple of brothers so far, and the younger one always wants to do better.”Crisp has had a solid career at Mooresvile, recording 134 wins heading into last weekend’s WRAL Invitational in Raleigh.He stands out because of his quickness, strength and aggressiveness. Spending his entire Blue Devil career wrestling at the lowest state weight class – 103 pounds his freshman and sophomore year and 106 pounds the last two seasons – has allowed him to master the fast-paced style.“He’s got a lot more maturity than the average 106-pounder,” said Watson.Crisp said that his experience, competing mostly against freshmen and sophomores, is a boost.“Experience comes over talent,” said Crisp. “You’re able to learn from your mistakes each time in each match. Experience helps you get close to perfect.”His near perfect 23-1 start this season had him 25 wins away from matching his brother’s 159 career wins, which ranks second in school history.Crisp, the No. 6-ranked 106-pounder in 4A by retrorankings.com, also has his eyes set on 2012 graduate Matthew Krider’s 167-win school record.“It’s going to be tough, but it’s not impossible,” said Watson.The 5-foot-2 Crisp has been a reliable starter during his four years at Mooresville. He was 30-10 as a freshman but barely missed making the state tournament.Crisp qualified for the last two state tournaments to cap off 45-11 sophomore and 38-7 junior seasons. He failed to place at either tournament after getting injured during both events.At the 2011 tournament, Crisp dislocated his shoulder and tore his rotator cuff during a match. This past winter, he hurt his knee during warm-ups before his second-round loss.Crisp uses his losses at those tournaments, as well as his lone loss of the year to Fred. T. Foard’s Isaac Hollar, as motivation to keep pushing himself to a breaking point to get better and reach his state title goal.“There’s always a match that comes to that point where you’re not going to want to push yourself and give up,” said Crisp. “When you’re that broken in practice, and you can push yourself that extra step, that will show up on the mat.”That sort of dedication is something the young Blue Devils need this year.After graduating nine state qualifiers in the past two years, Mooresville is going through some growing pains.The Blue Devils were off to a 10-7 start this season behind Crisp and fellow returning state qualifier Dontrez Patterson.Patterson, a senior who placed third at states in the 170-pound class, was 22-2 heading into last weekend wrestling at 182.Senior Jarred Brooks, a transfer from Pennsylvania, also had a strong 22-2 start.Watson added that Jaime Wright (120 pounds) and Pierce Conger (132) have also had solid senior years while junior Kane Price is contributing at 138 pounds.The Blue Devils hope to continue a more than 15-year streak of qualifying to the state’s dual-team playoffs.“Once these kids get to figure their technique, their go-to move, and perfect it, we could be dominant,” said Crisp.
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012
Blue Devil senior driven by older brother’s legacy
Mooresville’s Sam Crisp looks to compete for 106-pound state championship
Mooresville's Sam Crisp hopes that his experience will help him compete for a state championship. The senior, who competes at the 106-pound class, is motivated by his older brother's wrestling career. SERGIO TOVAR - firstname.lastname@example.org