Woodland wrestlers claimed three state championships and Cass one as the two Bartow County schools finished second and fourth, respectively, at the state traditional tournament held at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Saturday.
Camden County was the overall winner.
Both Adrian Tramutola and D.L. Koontz, head wrestling coaches at Woodland and Cass, expressed pride in the performances of their wrestlers and noted the large number who participated in the state tournament.
“I was proud of our kids,” Tramutola said. “We didn’t win the state title but that doesn’t take away from the fact we sent 13 — the most in school history — and had eight placers. We had three state champions and you’re happy for those guys, and you see those who didn’t quite realize their dream and you feel for them. You want to see all of them become state champions, but it’s not realistic that that will happen.”
Koontz praised Cass wrestlers for working hard and improving so much they could compete at the state’s highest level this year.
“Overall we’re a young team,” Koontz said. “Of the 11 guys who qualified, we are losing only two and we’ll have nine returning. We’re on the upswing this year.”
He said the wrestlers had a lot of work to do this year to compete.
“We had to get them battle-tested and ready. Some of them were just a year away. We had only one returning state qualifier.”
He praised the Cass performance.
“Our boys wrestled great,” he said. “Overall I’m very pleased with how they wrestled. They fought very hard all the way through, even those who didn’t place. They were attacking and going after their opponents. The ones who lost, it bothered them. Having it bother them is usually a good stepping stone into next year.”
Woodland at state
Three Wildcats claimed state championships and five others placed. They include Kyle Gollhofer, 106-pound weight class, state champion as a freshman; Logan Sims, 132, a state champion for the third time in his career and a four-time state placer; Cody Cochran, 152, a sophomore and state champion for the second consecutive year.
Placers include Dalton May, heavyweight, runner-up; Dawson Woods, 126, third place a second time; Spencer Cooper, 145, fourth place, state runner-up last year; Jahvar Lewis, fifth place and a three-time placer; and Joseph Jones, 160, fifth place.
Also contributing points that helped the team win its second-place finish were Raekwan Hicks, 182; Brett Shedd, 195; Hunter Hardin, 220; Jacob Frye, 170; and Jesus Montero, 113.
Tramutola noted all the competitors who won a match earned points for the team that counted toward its second-place finish.
“All 13 of our wrestlers won at least one match,” he said. “Every single kid scored points.”
He said a lot of the Woodland wrestlers finished above their seeding and credited their hard work this season with making that possible.
“Some of them just wrestled their butts off and did it,” he added. “We got better than last year, and I’m 100 percent proud of them.”
He said the team will get some time off, but it won’t be long before the wrestlers are back at it.
“We’ll take a week off or a couple of days and let their bodies rest, and then get back lifting,” he said. “I know it’s a cliche but next year starts tomorrow. We have seven kids graduating who scored a lot of points for us during their careers, and we will start working with our team for next year.”
Colonels at tourney Hunter Quinn turned in the top performance for the Colonels, who sent 11 wrestlers to state.
Quinn won the state championship in the 138-pound weight classification. Other placements won by Cass wrestlers included Trip Breeden, 195, runner-up; Seven Richards, heavyweight, third place; Jordan Mitchell, 132, fifth place; and Devin Garrett, 113, sixth place.
Also contributing points toward the fourth-place finish were Houston Jones, 170; Tyler Pilcher, 120; Jaylen Callahan, 145; Khalil Farmer, 152; Chance Scrutchins, 182; and C.J. McKnight, 160.
Koontz said the performance leaves the Colonels in good shape for next year although the team will lose experienced members to graduation.
“I’m going to lose five seniors who had a special place in my heart,” the coach said. “They were a part of this program and helped it finish in the top 10 all four state traditional tournaments. I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done.”
Koontz said now that the wrestlers have completed the season, some will move on to another sport while others take a break and then start wrestling again.
“They’ll take a week or two off to rebound and heal up,” he said. “Then they will start to get ready for what comes next, whether it’s lifting weight or working with their club team. Soon they will be bettering themselves so they can help the team next year.”
— Sports Writer Jason Greenberg contributed to this report.