High school wrestlers from across the west Georgia area are now preparing to compete at the next level of state competition after wrapping up area tournaments this past weekend.
No other local team had more success than the Central Lions, who had all 13 grapplers make it through to the next round after this past weekend’s Region 5-AAAA tournament in LaGrange.
“We brought 13 kids, and we left with 13 kids,” said Head Coach Kyle Fountain. “I can’t say enough about how proud I am of our guys. They fought hard and just did a great job overall.”
The Lions finished second in area team standings with both C.J. Shadinger (120) and Sam Conerly (170) coming away as area champions.
Area runner-up finishers included Trey Elderdice (106), Zane Simmons (113), Jordan Williamson (182), Jason Konoval (220) and Dakota Ison (heavyweight).
Third place medalists for the Lions included Pierce Simmons (126), Ethan Askin (152) and Nick Montalto (195). Central had three wrestlers finish in fourth place with Caden Horsley (138), Taylor Smith (145), and Brodie Montalto (160).
“I honestly couldn’t be happier with how we did,” said Fountain. “We had a lot of obstacles to overcome. If a team can do this well, it’s exciting to see how well they can do at the next level. Several kids won matches that they really weren’t expected to win.”
Central will move on to compete in the Class AAAA West Sectional tournament this weekend at Woodward Academy.
The Haralson County wrestling program may still be in its infancy after only three years, but that did not stop the Rebels wrestlers from competing in the Region 3-AAA area tournament.
Head Coach Nick White says it is no secret that the region is one of the toughest in the state.
“A lot of coaches will agree that our area is the toughest in the state,” said White. “The number of state placers from last year that came from our area was really high—more than half the state placers in AAA came from our area.”
The Rebels have four grapplers moving on to sectionals this weekend, including Jacob Wilson (106), Daniel Muse (113), Adrian Wilson (120), and Blake Rice (126).
“We are focused on winning this weekend and getting these guys through to state,” said White. “We have a good chance. The good news about being in a tough area is that, if you make it through our area, you have a good shot at getting to the state tournament.”
The defending state champion Bremen Blue Devil squad hopes to replicate last year’s success. The Devils share Region 3-AAA with Haralson County, and are well aware of the level of competition in the region.
The Blue Devils had four tournament champions in last weekend’s area competition. The Bremen heavyweights stood out among the competition with Kobe Cook (160), Noah Liles (170), Jacob Miles (195) and Paul Robinson (heavyweight) finishing as area champions.
A.J. Brock (138) and Jacob Stephens (220) both finished second in area competition, with Luke Chandler (152) taking fourth place.
The Mt. Zion Eagles will send five wrestlers to the next level of state competition after finding success at last weekend’s Region 3-A tournament in Darlington.
Cade Barrow took home the region championship title in the 182-pound weight class. Mt. Zion had two runner-up finishers in Bryce Hill (145) and Case Jiles (195). Que Beasley (120) finished in third place for the Eagles.
“It would not surprise me if all five of those guys made it through to state,” said Head Coach Allen Newton. “Cade Barrow finally won his first tournament this weekend, and I think he picked a good weekend to win one.”
Temple had four wrestlers that will move on to sectionals this weekend.
Senior John Austin Robinson (170) led the way for the Tigers, and finished as region champion, while Preston Hulsey (138) finished second. Tiger wrestlers Will Birmingham (106) and Braden McGee (132) placed fourth in the Region 3-AA competition.
“Robinson got first place, and we fully expect him to win it all,” said Head Coach Caleb Hannah. “He’s pinned every single kid he’s wrestled this year except for Carrollton’s 170-pound wrestler.”
Hulsey is also expected to do well in state competition after finishing just one point behind in the 138-pound finals match.
“My young guys really stepped in and filled the expectations in our area tournament,” said Hannah. “My outgoing seniors are setting a precedent of what we expect and the level of commitment we want.”
Carrollton had eight of its wrestlers qualify for the next round of competition after a strong showing at the 7-AAAAA Traditional Tournament in Cass.
Four Trojan grapplers took home a gold medal on Saturday, including Luke Frost (106), Jacob Walsingham (152), Grant McKinley (170) and Chase Sippola (195).
Second place finishers for Carrollton included Brent Parivechio (120) and Hunter Cantoral (160). Kaleb Thomaston (145) finished in third, and Brock Bibbee (182) finished fourth place. Four Trojans will travel to the Sectional tournament as alternates this weekend. Scott Loftin (113), Luke Sawyer (132), Hunter Pilgrim (138) and Daniel Dukes (Heavy) each finished fifth in area competition.
The Bowdon Red Devils will send three wrestlers on to sectionals this weekend. Ben Rainwater (106) finished runner-up, and Red Devil wrestlers Wesley Scales (126) and Ethan Lanier (113) finished third.