Woodland will have a nearly full complement of wrestlers at the state traditional next weekend in Macon, where the Wildcats will look to secure their fourth Class 5A championship in the past two …
Woodland will have a nearly full complement of wrestlers at the state traditional next weekend in Macon, where the Wildcats will look to secure their fourth Class 5A championship in the past two years.
As usual, Woodland won't be the only Bartow County team sending a significant number of grapplers down to Middle Georgia in hopes of winning an individual state title.
Cass qualified all nine wrestlers it sent to the same 5A sectional Woodland competed in Saturday at Alexander. Meanwhile, Adairsville and Cartersville each had seven athletes punch a ticket to state Saturday in sectional meets at South Forsyth and Perry, respectively.
Woodland was its usual dominant self, producing five champions across the middle weight classes. Caleb Jones (132 pounds), Caden McCrary (138), Caleb Henson (145), Cole Cochran (160) and Jaxon Smith (170) each took first place. Henson, who won three of his four matches by pin, remains unbeaten on the season, while McCrary and Smith have lost just once each.
The Wildcats had a pair of runner-up finishes from Colton Bishop (126) and Bryce Shedd (220). Easton Bishop overcame a quarterfinal defeat, storming through the consolation bracket to finish third at 120.
A trio of Woodland wrestlers wound up fifth — Bryce Collum (152), Jeremiah Rhodes (182) and Beau Jernigan (285). Asher Jernigan was the final Wildcats qualifier, finishing eighth at 106 to grab the final spot.
As for Cass, Bryce Kresho earned the crown at 120 pounds with a 6-5 minor decision win in the finals. Cam Hill also reached the first-place match at 160, but he fell to Cochran.
Five Colonels bounced back from defeat to finish third. After dropping his first match, Eli Doolittle rattled off four straight wins at 113. Tyler McKnight lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals but recovered with consecutive victories at 126. It was a similar story for Adan Urizar (145), Zach McKnight (152) and Reed Davis (182).
Defending state champion Noah Hoffmeier also fell in the semis, but unlike his teammates, he came up just short in the third-place bout, falling to a 1-0 minor decision to finish fourth. The final Cass wrestler was Montgomery Tompkins, who ended up fifth in the 106-pound division.
Angel Banda gave Adairsville its lone sectional championship. He used a bye, a pin, a major decision and a minor decision to run the table at 113 pounds.
Banda was actually the only Tiger to reach the finals, but six of his teammates will be joining him in Macon. James Standridge and Dalton Cornett placed third at 132 and 160, respectively. Austin Dudley finished fourth at 126, and Isaac Linley wound up fifth at 120. Evan Henry (182) and J.T. Jolly (195) each finished sixth, claiming the final qualification spots at those weight classes.
As for the Canes, who had to go past Macon to get to Perry, their best finish of the day came courtesy of Giles Turner, who dropped a narrow 3-2 decision in the 120-pound finals. Jabril Williams had a solid showing at 160, placing third, while Rashun Hurst wound up fourth at 195 after losing a tiebreaker.
Tyler Earick dropped consecutive matches but bounced back to finish fifth in the 113 division. Despite losing his first match, Rashad Hurst battled back into state-qualifier territory with a seventh-place showing. Shadre Hurst and Collin Buffaloe also wrestled for seventh. Both came up short but still qualified for state, which runs Feb. 13-15 at Macon Centreplex.
Caiden Tanner didn't qualify directly for state, but his ninth-place finish gives him alternate status, meaning he will step in if any of the top eight qualifiers are unable to compete.
Cartersville also qualified one wrestler for the girls state championship, which will run concurrently with the boys, as Malena Higgins finished runner-up in the 225 division.