While the Sonoraville and Calhoun wrestling teams may have been at two separate sites over the weekend for Area Traditionals, there was one thing in common — success.
Both teams had great showings at Traditionals, Sonoraville at Area 2-AAA at Central-Carrollton and Calhoun at Area 3-AA at Murray County.
The Firebirds dominated Area 2-AAA, finishing first in the team standings ahead of Rockmart by almost 50 points with a total of 243.5 despite not having a wrestler compete in three weight classes due to injuries (120, 195, 220).
In all, Sonoraville had 11 wrestlers finish in the top four to advance to the Class AAA West Sectionals this upcoming weekend at Ringgold, including four Area champions. They were led by Cody Kuhn who took first in the 152-pound division en route to being named Most Outstanding Wrestler for middleweights.
Kyle Chastain (113), Matt Charles (132) and Abel Diaz (182) were also Area champions in their weight class. Austin Bowen (106), Ryan Farist (145), Jarrett Derryberry (160) and Sam Wells (285) all placed second, Austin Tillman (126) took home a third-place finish, and Chris Gonzalez (138) and Andrew Lockhart (170) placed fourth.
Also at Area 2-AAA was Gordon Central, who had two wrestlers advance to sectionals, Maury Coria (195) and Calis Whaley (220).
Up at Murray County, Calhoun had a solid weekend, sending nine wrestlers through to sectionals and finishing second in the team standings behind Lovett.
Leading the way were two area champs, Donnell Anthony (160) and Cameron East (285), who both went 3-0 at the tournament. Anthony is seeking his second straight state title after winning the 138-pound gold last season at state.
Dustyn Harris (220) and Will Conley (170) each placed second, Luke Green (182) and Chandler Quinn (138) finished third, and Aaron Pass (152), Logan Knight (132) and Jason Orellana (113) took home fourth-place finishes.
“It was great that all of our seniors qualified for sectionals,” said Calhoun coach Dale Hales. “We had a couple that were questionable going into the tournament, but some how they pulled it off.
“I just want to mention how good of a job our upper weights wrestled. Aaron finished fourth, and he wasn’t seeded in the tournament, Dustyn finished second and Cameron first, both finishing higher than what they were seeded. Luke finished third, and he is our most improved wrestler this year. He has worked extremely hard.”
Hales added that Conley’s match in the 170-pound finals was extremely close as he fell 12-11 after being down 7-2 going into the second period.
“Will wrestled the match of his life although he lost in the final,” said Hales. “He wrestled the kind of match that our wrestlers needed to see. It was the kind of determination and skill that our coaching staff has been wanting to see displayed. I know he lost, but he got something out of the match that you can’t coach, you only get it from experience.”
These nine Jackets will compete at the Class AA West Sectionals this weekend at Lamar County.
Hales said he expects a lot out of his team in the next couple weeks at sectionals and state.
“We finished second as a team (at Area), and hopefully, we can finish in the top five at the state tournament,” said Hales. “I’m looking for great accomplishment out of these young men. I believe we have several that can get on the podium at the state tournament.”