2018 Darlington Classic

Darlington's Carl McDurmon leaps over the top of Blessed Trinity's Patick Riordan to switch sides during their 113-pound championship match at the Darlington Classic on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Darlington's Huffman Center. (Jeremy Stewart/RN-T.com)

Gaining traction is a plus when championships are in question and the finish line is in sight. So consider the Darlington wrestling team to be laying down some serious rubber.

A week after Tigers’ coach Kelly McDurmon talked about the importance of peaking at the right time following his team’s win in the Darlington Classic, the group celebrated six area champions on Saturday as they hosted the Area 3-A Traditional Tournament.

Trion had three wrestlers win their classification as all 14 of the Bulldogs’ wrestlers placed fourth or higher, meaning they advance to the GHSA Class A “A” Sectional Tournament next weekend at Irwin County High School.

Darlington finished with seven total qualified for the sectionals. The Tigers came in second in the overall team standings with 158 points. Trion was first with 215.

Leading the pack for Darlington on Saturday were juniors Dalton Blankenship and Colton Woods, each of whom are two-time area and state champions. Blankenship won the title at 126 pounds, while Woods took the 132-pound championship.

Davis Peek repeated as area champion after taking the 138-pound title with an 8-4 decision over Trion’s Lincoln Maddux. Carl McDurmon (113) and Rhett McDurmon (152) captured area titles, as did 160-pounder Garrett Sheffield.

Darlington’s other sectional qualifier is Tysen Dougherty, who came in to wrestle at 285 pounds after Elijah Ball was injured early in the season. The sophomore won his consolation final match, 8-2, to take third.

Trion’s Bolen Stricklin (120), Cole Luallen (145) and Logan Blevins (195) all captured area championships in their respective divisions. Noah Deparlier (126), Lincoln Maddux (138), Chris Pace (152) and Clay Baker (285) came in second.