Woodland, with seven qualifiers, paced the county Saturday at the Class AAAAA West Sectional held at Allatoona High, while Cass fell one shy of that number at the Class AAAA West Sectional at Pickens.
In the Class AAA West Sectional at Ringgold High, Adairsville and Cartersville combined for six qualifiers, three each.
Although every coach aims to qualify each of his wrestlers, the Wildcats’ Adrian Tramutola and his coaching brethren felt positive about their teams’ performances.
“We got seven through [to state]. Obviously, I’d like to have more, but the seven guys that got through did what they had to do … ” Tramutola continued. “The key to the weekend is getting through the weekend.
“We’re alive for next weekend, [and] I’m proud of that.”
Freshman Logan Sims (106 pounds, first), Jake Huffine (113, first), Matt Evans (126, eighth), Lee Cash (145, fourth), Zach Frye (152, fourth), Jermel Lewis (170, sixth) and Isaiah Ross (195, fifth) all clinched berths.
The remaining qualifiers include: Adairsville’s Hayden Randolph (126, first), Chance Bishop (132, third) and Charlie Silvers (220, third); Cartersville’s Evan Cole (145), Houston Stewart (152) and Gerry Vassil (170); and, Cass’s Hunter Quinn (106, second), Chandler Blum (113, fifth), Rashad Williams (126, sixth), Montavious Turner (132, seventh), Devin Wills (138, fourth) and Tyler Larson (145, third).
Out of his six qualifiers, Cass coach D.L. Koontz said four were sophomores, one was a junior and another a freshman.
“We’re as young as can be,” Koontz noted. “We’ve all got room to grow. … There’s definitely room for improvement. They’re not at their peak yet. … I’m kind of excited to see how [they perform].
“Overall, I think we have — [in Class] AAAA — I think we have the toughest sectional, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see 10 state champs, if not more, come out [of our section] next week at state.”
The Colonel coach acknowledged that no disrespect was intended for the east sectional, but pointed out powerhouse programs like Gilmer, Alexander and Marist to support his reasoning — “not to mention all our other area schools,” he added.
While Cass lost just three wrestlers out of 10 — one area qualifier did not make weight — Adairsville carried three of its five through, with Randolph joining Woodland’s Sims and Huffine as a sectional champion on the weekend.
“We didn’t know to expect going in,” Tigers coach Joey Harris said. “… We felt like … we could get one in, and [we] didn’t really know what to expect with the other areas [that were coming into the west sectional] ... To finish, really, with a first and two thirds and the other [two guys] being fifth ... we felt real good about that.”
In years past, Adairsville would have had five qualifiers, but the GHSA only allowed state berths to the top four guys in each Class AAA weight class.
“This year it’s a little different for us in AAA in that last year it was top eight,” Harris explained. “… So this year we moved up a class, but we also lost eight people [in terms of qualifiers].”
That change in the lower half of the now six-classification GHSA was tough for Tyler James (120) and Daelen Harrison (145) — especially James, a senior who finished in fourth place in the 106-pound weight class at last year’s Class AA state tournament.
“Tough pill to swallow,” Harris said. “He didn’t wrestle bad. He wrestled pretty well.”
To read the rest of this story, please purchase a copy of The Daily Tribune News at your nearby news rack or subscribe to the E-edition.