The Blue Devils claimed six area titles and five runner-up finishes en route to the team championship at the Area 2-AA Traditional Tournament at Jasper County High School in Monticello and now move on to the Class AA West Sectional at Lamar County High School next weekend.
Luke Campbell won an area crown at 113 pounds and he was joined by Cory Morgan (126), Brock Cooper (132), Tristan Williams (138), Kannon Madden (152) and Joe Bexley (hvy.).
Earning runner-up efforts were Austin Capes (106), Jacob Bumgardner (120), Joseph Stroud (145), Jesse Eriquezzo (160) and Darron Boxley (170). Jared Wysner (182) came in fifth and will be an alternate for sectionals.
Bremen coach Tony Armas said his guys did what they needed to on Saturday, and now it’s a matter of making another strong splash at sectionals.
“We didn’t get everything we needed, but we’re through. We’ll see what we can get done next week,” Armas said. “We’re just covering a few basic positions, trying to score in spots and believing that we can win.”
Bowdon advanced six wrestlers to next week’s sectionals, picking up a pair of first-place, second-place and third-place finishes in Monticello.
Capturing first-place finishes were Trevor McCray at 106 pounds and the guy coach Craig McWhorter called the Red Devils’ hottest wrestler right now — Connor Wigginton at 195.
In second place was Hunter Jones (113) and Saeje Brown (220), who dropped a tough, 3-2 match in the finals, while Avery McWhorter (126) bounced back from a tough loss in the semifinals to get a pin for third place and Hunter Lewis (182) continued his senior year, also finishing third.
“Overall, team-wise, my kids wrestled really good. I was really proud of the effort everybody gave. Ben Vance wrestled our 132 weight class and lost his conso semifinal match in double-overtime. He had a real good match and a heartbreaking loss,” Craig McWhorter said. “I thought they gave it their best shot and some of them wrestled really well ... We missed out on third by a couple points. Spencer edged us out as a team. Kids stepped up and they wrestled really well. Couldn’t be happier for them.”
Area 5-AAAA Tournament at LaGrange
Not only did Carrollton advance 11 of the 12 grapplers it took to the Area 5-AAAA Tournament on Saturday, but each of the 11 placers were in the finals, with six taking individual area titles.
It was the meat of the Trojan lineup that did the most damage, as Carrollton picked up its individual titles from defending state champions Jake Adcock and Taylor Lujan at 126 and 152 pounds, respectively, with Rhett Hembree (132), Turner Martin (145), Dan Harris (160) and Travis Joyce (182) also taking first place in the area.
“Really, really happy with some of our individual performances. I thought as a team we did some good things, but definitely have some areas that we have to improve on and fine-tune over these next few weeks,” Carrollton coach Ryan Wilman said.
Finishing second for Carrollton was Bryan Johnson (106), Christian Gutierrez (113), Chris Foster (120), Murphy Hagen (195) and Cole Glommen (hwy).
Alexander ended up winning the team side of the tournament in what Wilman described as the difference of the two weight classes that Carrollton didn’t compete in. Now the focus shifts to next week and the Class AAAA West Sectionals at Pickens County and the state tournament in Macon.
“It says a lot about our team. We’ve got some talented athletes, some talented wrestlers and some hard-working kids,” Wilman said. “I really believe our shining light is going to come at the very end of the season at the state tournament, and I say that off of the performances I see at the area championships where we do have 11 guys in the finals. We’ve got seven, eight guys that are extremely talented that can wrestle their way into the finals at the state tournament ... I’m really impressed with the way that they’ve handled [being down two weight classes] all season long.”
Area 5-AAAAA Tournament at Allatoona
Coming into the Area 5-AAAAA Tournament, Villa Rica had two goals. And when everything was said and done, it not only reached them, but surpassed them by sending six grapplers to next week’s sectionals.
Josh Ivey and Sam Preston will make a return to the sectional meet, as four others will join them. Along with the two making their second trip, Michael Hurley (106), Tristan Ware (132), Maurice McGuire (170) and Demetris Flemister (195) will be returning to Allatoona next weekend.
“It means that we’re on the rise. We’ve climbed a lot of ladders this year, and this was just another step. Our goal was to get three or four guys out and we ended up getting six. That means a lot for our program. Last year we only got two out, this year we got six. It means a lot. I know these boys have worked hard and they deserved it,” VR coach Kyle Seeley said.
The other goal was to place six, and with Austin Roper’s fifth-place finish at 126 pounds, the Wildcats placed seven and Roper will be the first alternate to the sectional meet.
“Couple of these new guys, Michael Hurley, just a freshman and a second-year wrestler. Tristan Ware, he wasn’t with our program last year, but he’s been wrestling for a while. Maurice McGuire, second-year wrestler and he’s advancing. Demetris Flemister, first-year wrestling ever and he’s made it to the next level. Austin Roper is a second-year wrestler, as well. I’m deeply proud of those seven guys that have worked hard to get to where they were able to go. Especially as young as we are. There are only two seniors that are going,” Seeley said.