Still, Edwards is looking for more in the 2013-14 season as his team seeks a region championship and state duals success.
“One of our goals is to qualify for the state duals and win the state duals, so that’s what we’re working on,” Edwards said. “Last year, that’s closer than we have ever gotten, so we had a good year, but it wasn’t an exceptional year. I think we have a very good chance this time.”
The Canes went to area duals a year ago and nearly qualified for the state duals before losing to Rockmart. As a result, Sonoraville and Rockmart advanced to the state duals, leaving Cartersville on the outside looking in.
“That’s the closest we’ve been as a team to qualifying for state duals,” Edwards said. “This is my eighth year or so and we’ve come a long way. We’ve been able to have some kids win some state titles; we’ve had some kids sign some college scholarships; we’ve built the numbers up; and we have a team that is representative of our school and our community.”
This year’s edition for the Cartersville wrestling team will include five seniors, most notably Evan Cole. Cole was a third-place finisher in the state traditional meet last year at 152 pounds.
The other state qualifier for Cartersville a season ago was Gerry Vassil. Vassil graduated last spring and is now on a wrestling scholarship to Bacone College in Oklahoma.
With Vassil gone, Edwards will turn to Cole, junior Seth Johnson, junior Brandon Reaves and Ryan Thomas to get the Canes to the state duals.
“We have five seniors on the team and our junior class is a very strong class,” Edwards said. “We have an exceptional freshmen class coming in, so we’ll be young at the lighter weights and we’ll be young at the upper weights, but in the middle, we’ll be senior laden. A lot of it is dependent on how much those young kids at the bottom and top of the lineup can improve as the season goes.”
The young talent in the Cartersville program bodes well for the future. Edwards is hoping the young talent will eventually lead Cartersville to become a top-tier program in AAA.
“We’ve come a long way with our program and we have our middle school program going strong, and the community and the administration supports us strongly,” Edwards said. “We’re headed in a good direction. We, of course, want to get to the very top. That’s our goal”
Cartersville’s first tournament of the season came on Saturday, when the Canes came in third place with a 3-2 record. Cole and Robby Earick went an undefeated 4-0, while Zaal Zafair went 3-1.
The team lost to Banks County, who is currently ranked first in the state in AAA, and also lost to Jackson County.