Monday, January 7, 2008 - by B.B. Branton
It’s been a decade since a college or university fielded a varsity wrestling team in the state of Georgia.
Georgia State dropped varsity wrestling after the 1997-98 season, but Sunday afternoon, two out-of-state varsity programs – Univ. of Northern Iowa and Chattanooga – met in a dual meet at Lithia Springs (Ga.) High School west of Atlanta with the Panthers edging the No. 10 Mocs, 21-16.
“We had about 800 fans here today which is a pretty good crowd, but we had hoped for more,’’ said Lithia Springs head wrestling coach Josh Ward, who is a former Red Bank and Moc wrestler.
“I would like to have one match a year in Georgia which helps us with recruiting and will give college wrestling good exposure in a great prep wrestling state,’’ said Chattanooga Moc coach Chris Bono.
Kennesaw (Ga.) State club wrestling team was suppose to wrestle both schools on Sunday, but due to seven injured wrestlers and eligibility problems with three other students, club coach Alex Tucker decided not to compete.
“We really wanted to wrestle Northern Iowa and the Mocs, but I didn’t think the guys I had available would have made the matches competitive.’’
The Kennesaw club team is in its second year and some think a varsity program at Kennesaw is a possibility somewhere in the future. The club team will host the Georgia state club duals on campus on January 19 and a dual with Mercer College on February 7.
“There is a good deal of interest among the Cobb County wrestling community to see collegiate varsity wrestling return to the state and maybe Kennesaw State is the place to begin,’’ said Tucker who has two club team All-Americans on his roster.
Kennesaw State athletic director Dave Waples does not see varsity wrestling at the school in the near future, but does have plans to renovate an on-campus warehouse for a practice facility for varsity sports in basketball, volleyball and cheerleading as well as the club wrestling team.
UNI 21, No. 10 Chattanooga 16: The teams split the 10 matches, but the visiting Panthers (1-2-1) picked up bonus points with a pin at 165 by No.4 ranked Moza Fay and a forfeit at 133 as the Mocs Steve Hromada was out with an injury.
“We looked terrible and didn’t wrestle well,’’ said Chattanooga coach Chris Bono. “We are still recovering from the Midlands tournament, but that is no excuse.’’
Winners for the Mocs (5-2) were No. 9 Javier Maldonado (125), No. 20 Joey Knox (149 and two-time state champion at Dublin (Ga.) H.S.), Seth Garvin (157), No. 16 Lloyd Rogers and No. 13 Matt Koz (197).
‘‘Overall, I think we wrestled well and I am happy with the outcome,’’ said UNI coach Brad Penrith, a former World silver medallist now in his eighth year with the Panthers.
“Except at 174 (Alex Dolly lost to Moc Lloyd Rogers, 17-6) where we lost our composure, we wrestled well throughout, even in the matches we lost.’’
Kennesaw Club Wrestling: web site: www.kennesawstatewrestling.com
Moc Old-Timer’s Cup: This inaugural prep dual tournament will be held at Maclellan Gym at UTC on Saturday Dec. 6, 2008. Any former Moc wrestler who is coaching in high school (head coach or assistant coach) can enter his team.
Coach Josh Ward plans to have a 16-team field the first year. Included in the field hopefully will be Baylor, Bradley Central, Cleveland, Lovett, Lithia Springs, McCallie, Murray County and Red Bank among others.
* Logan Martin Invitational (Pell City, Ala): Memphis University School claimed the tournament championship, followed by Fort Payne, East Ridge and South Paulding.
The Pioneers had seven medalists, including runners-up Micah Kidd (160) and Michael Carter (189).
Web Site: www.alabamawrestling.net gives important information on various Alabama high school tournaments, as well as some tournaments in Tennessee and Georgia and the Chattanooga Mocs.
* Hoover (Ala.) Invitational: Bradley Central won the 14-team tournament and had eight in the finals and champions in Ethan Hames (103), Logan Biddy (119), Ed Stiles (125) and Dean Pavlou (145).
Scottsboro was second, followed by Dutch Fork (S.C.) and Woodward Academy (Ga.).
* 14th Annual Murray County Invitational: The host and defending champion Indians claimed first place with 201 points and four champions; Cody Adams (125), Brice Gibson (145), Blake Rainey (152), and Zach Bagget (171).
Cleveland, the 2005 champions, was second (147.5) and Grissom (Ala.) was third. Dacula (117), Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe (7.5), Dalton (59), Southeast Whitfield (41) and Silverdale Baptist Academy (29) rounded out the eight-team field.
OW – The co-Outstanding Wrestlers were Blake Rainey (152, Murray County) and Noah Hunt (119, Dacula). Rainey, who defeated Kolby Youell (S.E Whitfield) in the finals, is 41-2 on the season and has 117 career wins. Hunt defeated Cleveland state champion Josh Jadoobirsingh, 10-8, in overtime. Hunt is 26-1 on the season, while Jadoobirsingh is 14-3.
* McEachern Duals: Baylor (24-2) went 4-0 and defeated Sprayberry, 69-10, Loganville, 74-6, Red Bank 60-13, and host McEachern, 47-20.
* 39th Central Invitational: Ooltewah claimed its third title of the season with 174 points and three champions in David Jordan (160), Jake Young (171) and Tyler Toon (189). Gordon Lee was second (152) and Ringgold was third (150) in the 12-team field. The Central Invite is the state oldest prep invitational, originally started as the Red Bank Invitational in December 1967 by then Lion coach John Farr. Two tournaments were canceled (Jan. 1988, Jan. 1997) due to snow and bad weather.
OW – Ooltewah’s Jake Young earned his second Outstanding Wrestler award of the season as he posted a major decision (13-5) against LeMarcus Armistead (Overton).
* 39th Father Ryan Invitational: The host Purple Irish won the 27-team tourney with 234 points, followed by Brentwood (208), Franklin (181.5) and Brentwood Academy (162).
McCallie was fifth with six medalists, including champions Michael Hooker (112) and T.J. Duncan (135).
OW - Greenback state champion Jeremy Miller (119) was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler as he defeated McCallie’s Kendall Ray in the finals.
Best Match: Cameron Croy (Brentwood) dec. Kevin Mix (Father Ryan), 6-4.
Indiana Bound: Franklin’s Ryan Konz has signed scholarship papers to wrestle at Indiana University next season. Konz defeated Justin Cash (Brentwood Academy), 2-1, in the 145-pound finals.
* Brookwood (Ga.) Duals: Notre Dame was 3-2 in the duals and Tee Boone was 5-0 in the day. Eastside claimed the team title.
* Wayne County (Ky.) Duals: Host Wayne County claimed the title, followed by Cookeville, Dunbar (Ky.) and McMinn County.
McMinn County was 1-3 on the day with a 64-18 win against Perry Central (Ky.)
Coach Dave Stoika said that the team wrestled about as well as they could have and showed much improvement compared to going 0-4 in the tourney last year.
This Week’s Schedule Highlights:
Tuesday 1/8 – Notre Dame at Cleveland, Hixson at Red Bank
Thurs 1/10 – East Ridge at Hixson, Baylor at Ooltewah, Bradley Central at Soddy Daisy
Walker Valley at Notre Dame
Sat. 1/12 – Boyd Buchanan Duals start at 10 a.m. … Baylor at Greeneville tournament and Ooltewah at Science Hill tourney ... Cleveland travels to the Kissimme (Fla.) Invite on Saturday after a dual with Kissimme Osceola on Friday.
Contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com