Among the top wrestlers in Class 4A at this weekend’s state traditional tournament in Duluth, Cartersville High was represented on the podium.
Cartersville junior Robby Earick placed fourth in Class 4A as one of two Canes competing along with Jonathan De La Cruz.
Earick was competing in the 126-pound weight class.
“He wrestled well. Even in his losses, he wrestled well. So I was very proud of him for his effort this weekend,” Cartersville head coach Garvin Edwards said of Earick.
Earick went into the tournament as a No. 6 seed. He upset the No. 2 seed in the first round, beating David Baros of Locust Grove by minor decision, 4-3. He then upset a No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals when he beat Matt Jenkins of White County by minor decision, 6-3. He then lost in the semifinals to the Area 7 champ, Charles Thurman of Heritage.
In the consolation semifinals, Earick pinned Daniel Parivechio of Carrollton High School. In the consolation finals, Earick lost to Reed Bethune of Marist.
“He’s wrestled well all season, but this last part of the season, he’s wrestled extremely well,” Edwards said of Earick. “He was able to carry that over into the state tournament. ... I expected him to do well and he did. So we’re very proud for him.”
De La Cruz did not place at state in the 220-pound weight class. He lost in the first round in an 8-7 battle against Monex Charles of Hampton High. He was then eliminated when he lost a minor decision, 9-5, to X’zontae Green of Thomas County Central on Day 2 of the tournament.
“As a first-time state qualifier, Jonathan performed well, but just wasn’t able to get a win,” Edwards said of De La Cruz. “The future does look bright for Jonathan as he is only a sophomore and has a couple more seasons ahead of him. We definitely expect big things from De La Cruz in the next couple of seasons.”
De La Cruz will be one of many talented returners for Cartersville next year, along with Earick.
“We did not have any seniors this year. All of our team is returning,” Edwards said. “We did have a good group of juniors, so next year we will have a good senior class. We did have a lot of ninth- and 10th-graders wrestling in the starting lineup, too. So I think, next year, we’ll be able to improve on our efforts from this year and, hopefully, be able to improve in our area, sectionals and state qualifying as a team.”
Edwards said his young wrestlers earned some important experience this season.
“You can have some excellent freshmen, sophomores that can do well against upperclassmen, but it definitely helps to have the maturity on your side,” Edwards said. “I think next year we’ll have some maturity on our side, which will improve out team and the results for next season.”
—Some of the information in this report was provided by special contributor Brooks Gayton.