While the Tigers bumped up from Class AAAA to Class AAAAAA, they also got out of a region dominated by state powerhouse programs Pope and Alexander.
“We were in Region 5-AAAA last year, arguably the hardest region in the state,” Fountain said… “We finished sixth at the duals and I was as proud as I could be.”
The old region was so tough Douglas County didn’t have any wrestlers make it to the state sectionals, much less the state tournament.
But that’s all in the past. This year, Douglas County is in Region 3-AAAAAA with East Coweta, Langston Hughes, Newnan, Tri-Cities and Westlake.
Fountain got some tangible proof last weekend that Douglas County can be competitive in its new region.
On Saturday, Douglas County won the Tiger Claw Duals, which included all six Region 3-AAAAAA teams along with New Manchester and Hiram. The Tigers were 5-0, beating East Coweta, Westlake, Tri-Cites, New Manchester and Hiram. East Coweta went 4-1 for second and New Manchester took third.
Senior Woodrow Kavanagh at 182 pounds and junior Solomon Greene at 138 pounds are among the top wrestlers coming back for Douglas County.
Fountain has also been impressed by senior Keywan Gaines at 113 pounds, sophomore Kalum Lo Vargas at 126 pounds, junior T.J. Beaird at 160-170 pounds and junior Quinzavious Sands at heavyweight.
“Specifically speaking, there’s a lot to be excited about if we can get everybody where we need them and if we can create the lineup we need to create,” said Fountain. “That’s half the battle is just weight and putting everybody where you want to put them.”
Douglas County is no different from any other program in that respect this early in the season, trying to sort out where all of the pieces to the puzzle will fit best come region and state time in January and February.
Even after losing to North Paulding and Hill Grove in a three-team dual Wednesday where two wins by Kavanagh were the only bright spot for the Tigers, Fountain is sticking to his usual practice routine of teaching technique.
“You can only do so much pouting about it,” Fountain said. “My plan is to continue almost as if it never happened.”
Despite Wednesday’s setback, the Tigers have plenty of other positives to latch on to as Fountain continues to build up the DC wrestling program.
His first year, he said, was a struggle fielding a full lineup, his second year saw the Tigers get the JV program going and now he’s starting to see all of that plus some experience and depth at certain weight classes.
The Tigers have gotten a big boost from the Douglas County Titans youth wrestling program, which practices in the high school wrestling room. Fountain said the Tigers have enough depth that they may be able to field wrestlers in every weight class at both the varsity and JV levels.
“That would be the first time that’s ever happened,” he said.
And looking at the bigger overall picture, the Titans feed into the other county high schools as well. Fountain has been impressed with New Manchester’s wrestlers and said Lithia Springs has really strong numbers this year.
“That’s awesome because that means kids are getting active in this sport in our county,” said Fountain. “It’s like Alexander and that’s the only trademark wrestling around here if you’re really looking at the state level. We’ve got to create our own programs and start pushing each other for who’s going to be the first to start knocking on Alexander’s door.”