It was a busy weekend for all four wrestling programs in Bartow County, as Adairsville, Cass, Cartersville and Woodland each attended tournaments.
There’s a long way to go until they get to region tournaments, but this is the time of year when coaches are trying to determine their final lineup, who they can rely on, and who their biggest competition might be.
Recaps from all the weekend tournaments are below.
Despite a patchwork lineup, the Tigers bounced back from a midweek letdown to win the Westminster Duals on Saturday.
Adairsville had lost duals to Trion and Pepperell on Tuesday.
On Saturday, despite missing five regulars and featuring six freshmen in the lineup, the Tigers rolled through the competition.
“We just didn’t show up [Tuesday], so it was good to see the guys have three great days of practice and come out looking like a different team,” coach Ryan Torrence said. “We were real flat on Tuesday ... and Saturday, we showed up like we belonged there. Our guys were striking, they were being the first to shoot, they were being much more physical and they weren’t giving up pins.”
They beat Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 45-36, Pace 51-23 and Westminster 45-36.
Getting to the finals required a nailbiter, as Adairsville just barely topped Pace, 39-38, but the championship match was a little easier, as the Tigers beat Heritage 46-36.
The Tigers were carried by five wrestlers, nearly half the team, going undefeated.
Angel Banda (106 pounds), Joseph Pacheco (132), Nic Jackson (170), Bryce Burgess (182) and Austin Jackson (220) all got through the matches without a loss.
The JV callups were just as important.
“We had several JV guys that stepped up to fill a varsity spot,” Torrence said. “They really did a great job of pulling their weight and those two or three or four wins they pulled off for the day were difference-makers.”
Adairsville will travel to Armuchee to face Sonoraville, Rockmart and the hosts on Thursday.
A tough weekend should lead to improvement down the road for the Canes.
Cartersville went to Chattooga for a round of duals matches against some top-tier competition, while missing some of their own wrestlers.
The Canes lost to Gordon Lee 48-34, Chattooga 53-18 and Armuchee 48-27.
They also took on Arab (AL), which has won five straight state championships in Alabama. The Canes lost that matchup 68-9.
“We’ve wrestled a lot of tough competition,” Cartersville coach Garvin Edwards said. “We wrestled a lot of really good duals teams. We tried to start out this season a lot tougher than we have in the last couple years.”
Senior Jonathan de la Cruz lost his first match of the season, 1-0 to a former state champion from Armuchee, but wrapped up his other matches en route to a 3-1 record.
Junior Desmond Winters also went 3-1 Saturday.
The setbacks should give the Canes a better idea of what they need to work on.
“No. 1, it magnifies your flaws when you wrestle that kind of competition,” Edwards said. “It really gives you a true picture of where you are, whether you’re in shape or not in shape. ... It exposes your flaws. It shows you that we have to work harder on our conditioning, have to work harder on our skills.”
The Canes will attend the Northside Columbus Duals on Saturday.
The Colonels split up on Saturday, with some wrestlers going to Woodstock and some to the North Atlanta Duals.
“I filled the one at North Atlanta with some younger guys, at some weights I didn’t have varsity guys at,” Cass coach D.L. Koontz said. “I’ve got bunch of logjams right now at different weight classes, so I split them up depending on what they needed. Some kids maybe needed to see kids that are a little stronger ... and then another group of kids might need to see more technical stuff.”
Cass finished second at Woodstock and third at North Atlanta, despite only having eight wrestlers at the latter meet.
The Colonels only had 11 out of 13 spots filled even at the Woodstock tournament, and that helped Sonoraville just beat them for the title.
“The way our kids wrestled on Saturday, I was pretty pleased,” Koontz said. “Of course, there’s still things we need to work on, but we put five in the finals [at Woodstock].”
Of the group, only senior Tripp Breeden, a defending state champion, got the win, at 220 pounds.
“[Breeden] just dominated his way through the tournament, pinned everybody,” Koontz said. “I’m not sure anybody got out of the first period with him, to be honest with you.”
Derrick Smith (113 pounds), Nick Mills (126), Kendall Arnold (145) and Rett Moore (170) finished second in their brackets.
Tyler Pilcher (132) was unseeded but fought through the bracket for third place.
Cass will host senior night against North Hall on Wednesday.
Woodland coach Adrian Tramutola was cautiously optimistic after finishing fourth at the Mountain View Duals Saturday.
“We have some guys who are still trying to get down to weight, some kids who were out with other issues, so we had to forfeit two weights all day long, and still competed and hung around,” Tramutola said.
After winning their pool, the Wildcats lost to North Hall by three, Bradley by four, and Mountain View by three.
Caden McCrary, Kyle Gollhofer, Cody Cochran and Gavin Nix wrestled well for Woodland, as did Demarcus Williams, fresh off football season, at 182 pounds.
It was a good sign after a rough start to the season that saw Tramutola frustrated with his team at times.
“We’ve still got a couple guys trying to do their own thing, but we saw some pretty good performances from several guys, so that was promising,” Tramutola said. “Right now we’re just trying to take small strides.”
The Wildcats will travel to Kissimmee, Florida, for the Danny Bryan Invitational this weekend, where they’ll take on some of the best teams in the Southeast.