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Central's Cyncere Haskins thriving wrestling at a bigger weight class

In the Knights' 63-12 win over Grand Forks Red River, Haskins picked up a pin at 195 pounds.

020622 S GFH GGFBWRESTLING CyncereHaskins JohnBjerke02.jpg
Grand Forks Central's Cyncere Haskins, white, slams Red River wrestler John Bjerke to the mat in a 195-pound class wrestling match during a rivalry dual at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — In early January, Grand Forks Central senior Cyncere Haskins and the Knights' coaching staff discussed wrestling at a bigger weight.

Haskins had wrestled at 170 pounds previously but Central coach Jeff Welsh thought Haskins' strengths could be utilized better at the higher weight, and it would better fill the Central lineup.

"Three days before the Bismark Rotary, we talked about it, and I love it," Haskins said. "Ever since I was young, I liked wrestling bigger guys. Then I placed seventh at the Rotary my first time at 195 and that was my first time placing there."

On Saturday afternoon, Haskins' pin at 5:14 of Grand Forks Red River's John Bjerke showcased his strength at his new weight class. The pin was part of Central's 63-12 win over the Roughriders in the Red River gym.

"He's strong enough at that weight and it's slower-paced and that suits him," Welsh said. "You saw what he's like today; he's powerful. We're excited to see what he can do there."

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Haskins is currently ranked No. 5 at 195 pounds in the latest North Dakota Class A wrestling poll.

He said the key at his new weight is not to get caught up tight on the bigger bodies.

"You have to create angles," he said. "You can't tie up because that'll be danger. You have to take smart shots."

Haskins credits teammate Justin Kerr, a 220-pounder for the Knights, as well as assistant coach Seth Owens for help in training.

"They're bigger guys so they teach me the technique," Haskins said.

020622 S GFH GGFBWRESTLING JamesCovington KellenLafontaine JustinKerr01.jpg
Red River head wrestling coach James Covington reacts after his wrestler Kellen Lafontaine, front left, defeated Grand Forks Central's Justin Kerr, front right, in a 220-pound wrestling match during a crosstown rivalry dual at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Against the Roughriders, Haskins had one of five pins for the Knights: Cesar Cruz at 106, Bryce Kelley at 113, Mason Williams at 152 and Alex Lassonde at 182.

020622 S GFH GGFBWRESTLING HenryBonn CesarCruz01.jpg
Red River's Henry Bonn fights to keep ahold of Grand Forks Central wrestler Cesar Cruz, right, during a 106-pound match of a matinee dual at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Red River picked up wins from Max McCarthy at 138, Kelly Middleton at 145 and Kellen Lafontaine at 220.

McCarthy and Middleton won in overtime.

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"Kelly was dead tired," Red River coach James Covington said. "He was able to fight through that tiredness and get that overtime victory, so we were happy about that."

020622 S GFH GGFBWRESTLING MaxMcCarthy HaydenMack01.jpg
Grand Forks Central wrestler Anton Perales, right, grapples with Red River's Tanner Swanson during a 132-pound matchup during a matinee dual at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Lafontaine was wrestling for the first time since an injury at the beginning of the season.

"He was pretty excited to get that win," Covington said.

020622 S GFH GGFBWRESTLING AlexLassonde BraydenCunningham01.jpg
Grand Forks Central's Alex Lassonde, center left, and Red River's Brayden Cunningham, center right, face off in a 182-pound wrestling match during a Grand Forks rivalry dual at Red River High School the afternoon of Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

GF Central 63,
GF Red River 12
106: Cesar Cruz (GFC) over Henry Bonn (GFRR) (Fall 2:53) 113: Bryce Kelley (GFC) over Miles Larson (GFRR) (Fall 3:03) 120: Jayden Hamilton (GFC) over (GFRR) (For.) 126: Jaxon Pecka (GFC) over (GFRR) (For.) 132: Anton Perales (GFC) over Tanner Swanson (GFRR) (Dec 6-5) 138: Max McCarthy (GFRR) over Hayden Mack (GFC) (SV-1 6-4) 145: Kelly Middleton (GFRR) over Noah Morkve (GFC) (SV-1 11-9) 152: Mason Williams (GFC) over Aiden Pelayo (GFRR) (Fall 1:56) 160: Gavin Pihlgren (GFC) over (GFRR) (For.) 170: Izaiah Hernandez (GFC) over (GFRR) (For.) 182: Alex Lassonde (GFC) over Brayden Cunningham (GFRR) (Fall 4:54) 195: Cyncere Haskins (GFC) over John Bjerke (GFRR) (Fall 5:14) 220: Kellen Lafontaine (GFRR) over Justin Kerr (GFC) (Fall 3:36) 285: Daniel Suda (GFC) over (GFRR) (For.)

020622 S GFH GGFBWRESTLING CyncereHaskins JohnBjerke01.jpg
Grand Forks Central wrestler Cyncere Haskins, white, rolls out of a hold into a reversal from Red River's John Bjerke in a 195-pound class wrestling match during a rivalry dual at Red River High School in Grand Forks on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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