Lake Norman & Mooresville

Senior breaks record, readies for last matches

Matt Krider remembers looking up on the wall of the Mooresville wrestling room as a sophomore and seeing the list of Blue Devils who had won 100 matches or more in their careers.

He imagined himself one day being on that wall.

Now, the senior has done that and more, becoming the program's winningest wrestler last week.

"It really meant a lot to me to break that record," said Krider. "There have been so many great wrestlers here, and now I am on top."

His coach, Ben Watson, is proud of Krider's accomplishment.

"Matt has gotten better and better each year he has been at Mooresville," he said. "He's not only gotten a lot stronger but also a lot more aggressive. To win more than anyone we've had ... says a lot about the career he has had."

Krider surpasses 2006 graduate John Crisp and 2011 graduate Tyler Bruton, who previously held the Mooresville career wins record with 159.

Krider tied the record with a major decision against Independence's Lemuel Gipson and earned his 160th win against Davie County's Ryan Smith, as the Blue Devils wrestled in the first and second rounds of the N.C. High School Athletic Association's dual-team tournament Feb. 7.

While Krider, 17, is now the winningest wrestler in Mooresville history, he still has the two most important weeks of his wrestling career ahead of him, first at the 4A West Regional match at Boone's Watauga High this Friday and Saturday and then at the 4A Individual state meet at Greensboro Coliseum Feb. 23-25.

Krider, who finished fourth at the regional meet as a sophomore and third last year, is looking to finish his career on top. The senior, who wrestles in the 126-pound weight class, is also hoping to place at states for the first time.

Krider has proved that he can wrestle with the state's best, going 44-5 this year on his way to being ranked No. 4 among 4A wrestlers in his class, according to retrorankings.com.

After winning the I-Meck championship at 112 and 119 pounds the last two seasons, respectively, Krider didn't win a conference title this year, losing to Hough's Adam Nivens before finishing third in the league tournament.

While he was disappointed in the loss, it has only fueled him to work harder.

"I've definitely thought about this being my last few weeks of wrestling, competitively, probably in my life," said Krider, who started wrestling when he was 4. "That makes me want to train harder, to run more, to push myself as hard as I ever have. I am hoping to be the best I've ever have been in these last two weeks."

His father, Mark, challenged Matt to try to be at his best, even after the record-breaking performance.

"As a father, I am very proud to see Matt break the record for wins at Mooresville," he said. "But I also said, 'OK, you've achieved that goal now you've got to focus on regionals and states.' It will be exciting to see if he can be at his best in these last two meets."

As one of three senior co-captains, along with Zach Brown and Michael Huntley, Krider will also leave Mooresville having been part of the winningest team in Blue Devil history, as this year's squad won a school record 32 dual matches after also winning back-to-back I-Meck tournament titles.

While some wrestlers do it in loud, "rah, rah," fashion, Krider usually leads with a quiet and hard-working approach.

"Matt has always been a quiet guy who just quietly goes about his work," said Watson. "But when he speaks, people listen because he usually doesn't say a lot."

Over the next two weekends, Krider hopes his performances on the mat will do his talking for him.

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