SUMMERVILLE — While some personal goals were met on the mats Saturday afternoon across Chattooga County, the storyline of the season remained unchanged.
A large number of the area’s top wrestlers have their home base in Summerville or Trion, and they are claiming titles at every turn in their journey.
The Chattooga Indians had seven champions and 11 wrestlers qualify for next weekend’s state sectionals at the Area 5-AA Traditional Tournament on Saturday, while just up U.S. 27, the Trion Bulldogs hosted the Area 4-A tournament and had seven of their 13 sectional qualifiers earn titles.
Both teams won the overall team title for their respective tournaments, duplicating each one’s success in the area — and ultimately state — team duals tournaments last month.
“This is the best performance … in area we’ve ever had. I mean, we scored over 200 points and had seven champs. They’ve been solid, and they just keep wrestling well and keep doing it at the right time,” Chattooga coach Brian Beasley said.
The Indians finished with 213 points, while Rockmart came in second with 143.5 points. Dade County was third with 141. Chattooga had 179.5 points and was in first by 46.5 points heading into Saturday’s finals.
Five Chattooga wrestlers repeated as area champions. The Indians’ 113-pounder Griffin Jarrett won his fourth straight area title, as did Alex Mears at 220 pounds. Griffin is a three-time state champion at 106 pounds, while Mears won state last season.
“So they’ve been getting it done since they were freshman. And here they are in their senior year and we’re hoping for big things out of both of them,” Beasley said.
Also repeating as area champions were Wes Conley (120), Ty Veatch (195) and Luis Medina (285). Medina and Conley — who was at Armuchee last season — both won state championships last season, while Veatch was a state runner-up.
Mason Sterner won the 145-pound title for the Indians, while Rowan Burdick outlasted Model’s Joe Wallace in the 152-pound championship. Jakoby Cottrell was the only the only Chattooga wrestler to lose in the finals as Pepperell’s Drake Miller won the 170-pound title by major decision, 20-7.
“The biggest thing about these guys is they are a close-knit group of guys,” Beasley said. “I think the tightness and the relationship these guys have is why we do what we do. You have individuals that are doing well in the brackets, but they pull for each other and they work hard together and it’s just, it’s a true team kind of environment.”
Rockmart’s Gunner Chambers kicked off the finals with a pin in the opening period against Dade County’s Jake Gatlin at 106 pounds. Caleb Cason later got the Jackets’ other area title at 132 pounds, defeating Dade’s Cayden Cooper by technical fall.
“I thought today was a great day. You know, this is what all the boys have been working for, the area tournament,” Rockmart coach Drew Lindsey said. “Caleb Cason, he’s been in the finals. This is his third time and he finally, as a senior, was able to win. Beat a kid that he lost to last year, so that was a big thing.”
Izaeah Beavers (113), Peyton Morris (120) and Josh Millhollan (160) all finished second in their divisions. In all, nine Rockmart wrestlers qualified for the state sectionals, which will be held in Bremen next weekend.
“It’s survive and advance every week, you know,” Lindsey said. “Some of our kids’ goals are to make it to state, some of them are to win state. But the goal is to get there as healthy as we can, keep our conditioning and survive every week.”
Pepperell’s Thomas Zenga joined Miller as the Dragons’ top finishers on Saturday, with Zenga able to pin Armuchee’s Joey Espy in the 138-pound final. Six Pepperell wrestlers finished in the top four of their division to punch their ticket to the sectionals.
Armuchee’s Cameron Espy was the 126-pound area champion as he pinned Dade County’s Lane Wilson. The Indians’ seven qualifiers also include area runner-ups Joey Espy (138) and Joey Green (220).
Model finished fourth in the team standings with 112.5 points and had four of its eight qualifiers in the finals — Duncan Blankenship (145), Joe Wallace (152), AJ Woods (182) and Jacob McAdams (195), all of whom finished second.
At the Area 4-A tournament at Trion, the host Bulldogs finished with 275 points, while Mt. Zion-Carroll had 198 and Gordon Lee had 167. Darlington finished fourth with 83 points.
Winning their divisions were Trion’s Bryce James (126), Logan Eller (145), Lincoln Maddux (152), Eddie Jimenez (160), Bo Jones (182), Brantley Willbanks (195) and Clay Baker (285), while five others finished in second.
Darlington’s Luke McDurmon won his third straight area title, defeating Trion’s Andrew Jones by a 4-0 decision in the 120-pound championship match, while his teammate, Alan Cordero, came in second at 145 pounds.
Adam Roberson came in second at 106 pounds, while the Tigers’ final sectional qualifier was Christopher Hagler, who came in third place at 126 pounds.