Fresh off an area duals championship, Rockmart’s wrestling team was not about to let up last Friday when it came time to cement its spot among the top eight teams in Class 3A.
Hosting Upson-Lee and Hephzibah at Rockmart Middle School on Friday evening in one of the state preliminary rounds, Rockmart rolled to a 78-6 win over Upson-Lee to claim a spot in this weekend’s 3A state duals championships.
“Finishing first last week really positioned us this week to have an easier route to get to the top eight, which is always our goal. Our goal now is to bring a trophy home,” Rockmart coach Drew Lindsey said.
The Jackets, who are 34-2 in duals this season, took on Upson-Lee after the Knights handled a short-handed Hephzibah squad to start the night. But when Rockmart took to the mat, it was a near flawless performance.
Rockmart won 11 of the 14 matches by fall in either the first or second period, while two matches were won by forfeit as Upson-Lee did not have anyone for those weight classes.
Those winning by pin were Austin Wooten, Dalvin Millhollan, Skylar Edwards, Cameron Jenkins, JaKamron Ammons, Jase Davis, TK Davis, Garrett Pace, Izaeah Beavers, Gunner Chambers and Nahzir Turner.
The only blemish on the near-perfect night was a tough call against Bleu Winters at 140 pounds that led to a disqualification. Still Winters’s return to the mat after an injury was a positive sign for Lindsey and the Jackets, who have just one senior on the team — Millhollan.
“They’ve been confident because we’ve been successful all season, but there are a lot of nerves with COVID. I mean, it may come down to who’s the healthiest the next seven days,” Lindsey said. “We only have one senior, but these kids have been winners for many, many years, and that they know how to win. So confidence is something that we’re not lacking because we’ve been successful all season.”
Rockmart will travel to Cherokee Bluff High School in Flowery Branch on Saturday for the Class 3A State Duals. Lindsey said he knows that it will take every wrestler on their roster to give them a chance at coming out on top.
“This is the part of the season that it’s about the team. It’s not about you individually, even though individually you help the team,” Lindsey said. “It takes 14 weight classes to advance in a dual event like this. And we’ve had great wrestlers since I’ve been here. Very talented wrestlers. But I think, from top to bottom, we’ve got 14 weight classes that are going to battle and scrap. We’ll see next week where we match up as far as the state level.”