Video: North Lenoir's Jerry Yourdon is school's all-time leader in wrestling victories
North Lenoir’s Jerry Yourdon is the all-time leader in career wrestling victories for the school, breaking the 23-year record of 93. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
It all started from a Duke wrestling shirt.
During Jerry Yourdon’s freshman year at North Lenoir, his father, Jeff happened to wear the shirt one day on campus, which piqued Hawks wrestling coach Patrick Cline’s interest.
“I didn’t even know the school had a wrestling program,” Yourdon said. “I just so happened to wear my shirt and Coach (Cline) had asked me if my son wanted to join the team. The seniors really encouraged him and took him under their wing, almost like a little brother.”
As a senior, Jerry Yourdon is heading into Friday’s Eastern Carolina Conference dual at Washington with 98 career victories, five more than the previous record, set by Kelly Benston in 1996. Jeff Yourdon, who wrestled in high school in Pennsylvania and New York, along with the Marine Corps after graduation, is in his third year as the Hawks wrestling coach and said he’s been impressed with his son’s abilities.
“He said to the team that he was blessed to be able to wrestle four years without an injury, which has helped him get to this number of wins,” Yourdon said. “For any wrestler to have a winning record all four years is good and I’ve been proud of his efforts.”
Jerry Yourdon said he feels good about the accomplishment and it was a team effort.
“I’d like to thank my team and my coaches,” Yourdon said. “They pushed me really hard to work and do my best during practice, (matches) and off the mat.”
Yourdon said he didn’t see himself as the school’s all-time leader in wins — or even a great wrestler — but continued to work on his craft as his passion increased.
“My freshman year I didn’t think I would be that good, but then I really liked it,” Yourdon said. “I started working hard and I think my sophomore year, I realized that I really enjoyed it. It’s a lot of practice, a lot of hard work. You’ve got to get the moves right and there’s no slacking.”
As one goal is on the threshold of being accomplished, Yourdon has two more in mind.
“My goal at the beginning of the year was 100 (wins),” Yourdon said. “Now that I realized I’m that close, I think I’m going to push (for) 120 and also to make it to States.”