From staff reports
Likely feeling a combination of exhaustion and elation, a large collection of wrestlers from Floyd County exited the Macon Centreplex on Saturday afternoon.
The group included a pair of state champions — Darlington teammates Jule Peek and Hayden Cook — along with a host of others who produced strong showings in their respective classifications at the three-day state wrestling tournament.
Darlington finished eighth in the team standings in Class A, thanks in large part to the championship runs by Peek (126-weight class) and Hayden (170), along with a third-place finish from Jordan Beck (152).
“It was awesome,” said Darlington coach Kelly McDurmon, summing up the weekend. “It’s the first time I’ve had two state champs, and the first time Darlington has had two state champs.
“We look forward to building on this success next year,” he said.
In Class AA, Armuchee’s Braylen Scoggins earned a third-place finish at 113 and Thad Moore was fifth at 152.
“I am really proud of (Scoggins’ and Moore’s) accomplishments this year,” said Armuchee coach Jason Mull. “I tell our guys that hard work pays off and these two are proof of that.
“They work at everything whether it is in the practice room or in the weight room,” Mull said. “They would have like to finished a little better but they are both just sophomores and i have no doubt they will continue to improve.”
Coosa’s Tyler Chastain finished sixth at 145.
In Class AAAAA, Rome High had two finishers in the top six, with Elijah Kerr-Brown taking fourth at 160, and Triston Payne earning sixth at 132.
Numerous other stars from outside Floyd County also had strong showings, including Chattooga’s JJ Blakenship, who won the Class AA title at 126.
Here’s a closer look at the final day of action:
Darlington’s Peek took the title at 126 by downing Commerce’s Michael Patton with a 5-1 decision in the championship round.
Darlington’s Cook won the championship at 170 with by defeating Trent Reddish with a 13-5 major decision.
Darlington’s Beck finished third in 152, defeating Telfair’s Rickyeon Jenkins in his final match.
For Trion, Dustin Thrasher took fifth at 138 and Chadler Latham was third at 160.
Armuchee’s Scoggins capped off his impressive season with a third-place finish at 113.
Scoggins, who finished first his class at both the area and sectional events, earned his third-place state finish with a 2-1 decision over GAC’s Brandon Bradley.
Armuchee’s Moore took fifth at 152, and Coosa’s Chastain finished sixth at 145.
Chattooga’s Blakenship won the title in the 126 weight class in dramatic fashion.
He gave up a takedown with two seconds remaining in the match, but then registered a takedown just 12 seconds into overtime to claim the victory and an undefeated season.
Blakenship is a second-generation state champ. His father, Levie Blakenship won a state title in 1982 as a member of the Model High wrestling team.
Calhoun’s Donnell Anthony was fourth at 160, Chattooga’s Hayden Burdick took sixth place at 132.
Throughout their careers, Marist High wrestler Kenneth Brinson has seemed to have Jordan Watkins’ number.
Watkins, of Cedartown High, the defending Class AAA 195-pound state champion, lost to Brinson in the Class AAAA west sectionals championship match this season.
The senior Bulldog shook off that defeat to reel off three straight wins at the Class AAAA state tournament in Macon to set up a rematch with Brinson in the state title match.
Unfortunately, Brinson was able to take down Watkins once again, this time by a 6-2 decision win to claim the state title. Brinson finishes the season 49-0 and Watkins finishes second in state with a 61-5 mark.
Cedartown’s Jonas Ritter, competing in the 160-pound division, won three matches at the state tournament to finish fourth overall.
After going 2-1 during the first two days of the tournament, Ritter picked up a 5-3 decision win over Cairo’s Paul Coleman on Saturday to advance to the third-place match.
In the third-place match, Ritter lost to Banneker’s Felix Wyley by pinfall. Ritter finishes the year fourth in state with a 38-10 record.
Rockmart High Dennis Wolfe finished second in the the 138-pound division.
Wolfe won the Class AAA west sectional championship and then won two matches at the state tournament in Macon to advance into the state championship match.
Wolfe lost in the finals to Oconee County’s Jake Hodges by major decision 17-3. Wolfe finishes his last year in a Yellow Jacket uniform with a 33-5 record.
Also competing Saturday for Rockmart were Nick Forsyth (126), Jason Wolfe (120) and Marlon Morales (160), who all had went 1-1 on Friday.
Morales took down East Hall’s Corey Reece by pinfall to start Saturday’s action and followed that up with an impressive pinfall victory over Sonoraville’s Jerrett Derryberry to claim third-place at state. Morales ends the 2012-13 campaign with a 27-13 record.
Forsyth fell to Woodward Academy’s David Morgan by a 3-0 decision on Saturday, but bounced back to defeat Dodge County’s Will Morgan 5-3 to claim fifth at state. Forsyth finishes the season with a 32-9 record.
Jason Wolfe lost to Morgan County’s Jason McAlister 12-9 on Saturday, but came back to knock off Jackson’s JT Wood for the second time in the tournament, this time by a 3-2 decision win to earn fifth place. Wolfe finishes the season at 39-9.
Zack Kirby, 170 pounds, also compete at state for Rockmart but lost both of his matches on Friday. Kirby had entered the tournament as the Class AAA west sectional 170-pound champion.
Brett Arnold, 106 pounds, also represented Rockmart at state, but lost both of his matches on day one.
— NPCo sports writers Brad Easterwood and Scott Herpst contributed to this report