For the 15th straight year, Newton-Conover hosts its unique Red Devil Duals wrestling tournament starting Friday.
The Duals feature six teams, including the Red Devils, Alexander Central, Hibriten, Durham School of the Arts, Enka and Piedmont.
N-C coach Eddy Clark said despite his team’s 16-0 record this season, the goal of this tournament is to improve.
“Our goal is not to go undefeated,” Clark said. “That’s never been a goal of mine. Our goal is to go 5-0 in February during the state dual team tournament. If we get beat now, it’s a good thing, but you never want to lose.”
The Red Devils (16-0) will try to add to their host tournament success this year.
Last season, N-C won all five of its matches against RS Central (49-16), Hibriten (69-6), Challenger (82-0), Enka (49-18) and edged Piedmont in the final (34-27).
At the end of the season, Piedmont ended up with the last laugh, defeating the Red Devils in the Dual Team state semi-finals, 33-28.
Piedmont is ranked No. 1 in 2A this season and poised yet again.
“It was a very big win last year for us to beat Piedmont,” Clark said. “That made it even more disappointing to see them move on to the state final match when they beat us in February. (The Red Devil Duals) are a good way to gauge where we are at. It’s absolutely no indicator of where we’ll be in February.”
Clark said his team can’t overlook other strong teams in the competition.
“Enka is a dynamite 3A squad,” Clark said. “We might be going into the Piedmont match with one loss. It’s a very tough one-day tournament. There should be some very exciting matches.”