There will be a whopping 31 wrestlers representing Bartow County high schools next weekend at the state traditional tournament.
Cass and Woodland represented Bartow well Friday and Saturday at the Class 5A sectionals at Lanier High as each team once again demonstrated the wrestling talent in the county.
Woodland qualified 13 of its 14 wrestlers it sent to sectionals, while Cass qualified 11 of its 12 wrestlers this weekend. No other school was able to qualify as many wrestlers, even though there were four regions battling at the tournament. No score is kept at sectionals, but it is likely that the two schools from Bartow would have taken the top two spots.
Ten of the 28 finalists in the Class 5A A sectional were from Bartow schools with the Wildcats having seven, and three from the Colonels wrestling for the championship.
Adairsville also had an impressive showing, sending five to state out of the seven that qualified for sectionals, while Cartersville advanced both of its sectional qualifiers.
The state tournament will be held next weekend at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth.
Woodland sends 13
Of the 14 weight classes, Woodland will send 13 wrestlers to state, boding well for the Wildcats’ chances next weekend.
“I’m pleased with all of them,” Woodland head coach Adrian Tramutola said of his wrestlers. “We had a good weekend — really good, actually. We had some really, really good performances by some kids who were seeded low and wrestled way above their region placing.”
Tramutola said he believes nine wrestlers is the most Woodland has previously qualified for state, making the 13 Woodland will send this time all the more impressive.
“I was really proud of our guys’ effort,” Tramutola said. “It was probably the best weekend we had all season as far as a complete team effort.”
Freshman Kyle Gollhofer was sectional champ in the 106-pound weight class, Logan Sims was champ at 132 and Dalton May was champ in the heavyweight class.
“That was big,” Tramutola said of May taking first in the heavyweight division. “We lost to [Cass’ Seven Richards] three times this year. Dalton came out early in the tournament and got rolling. I think he scored 15 points in about three minutes in the first round. He kind of got on a roll and just wrestled really well. So that was a big win for him.”
Woodland had four more wrestlers who reached the finals and finished runners-up. Dawson Woods was one in the 126-pound weight class, as was Spencer Cooper at 145, Joseph Jones at 160 and Raekwan Hicks at 182. Cooper had an injury default in the finals, preventing him from winning sectionals as well.
“Dawson lost a one-point match right at the end. He got rolling kind of late, but he wrestled well throughout the tournament. Joseph Jones, who was third in our area, comes out and steam rolls everybody through to the finals. He was in a one-point match with the defending state champ [in the finals] and just made one little mistake and got caught,” Tramutola said of his team’s runners-up. “You talk about some guys wrestling above their seed or their region placement, Raekwan Hicks, who was fourth in our region, comes out and knocks off a region champ in the first round. Second round, he beats a region runner-up, and in the semis, he beats Chance Scrutchins, who was a region champ and had already beaten us earlier in the year at the duals. I was really pleased with his performance.”
Third-place finishers for Woodland were Jahvar Lewis at 120 and Cody Cochran at 152.
“Jahvar Lewis lost a tight match in the semis,” Tramutola said. “[Cody Cochran] got caught and pinned in the semis, didn’t let it get to him, came back and took third.”
Brett Shedd at 195 and Hunter Hardin at 220 were the fourth-place finishers. Also qualifying for state were Jacob Frye in fifth at 170 and Jesus Montero in sixth at 113.
“Jesus Montero wrestled well. He lost two one-point matches, so he was right there,” Tramutola said. “Jacob Frye was third in our region, lost two one-point matches to the same kid, came back and took fifth.”
Kyle Veley was the one wrestler from Woodland who did not qualify for state as he placed 10th.
“He really wrestled well, though,” Tramutola said of Veley. “Coming out of our region as a 4 seed put him behind the eight ball a little bit.”
With all the wrestlers Woodland has in the state tournament, the ’Cats are looking for another high finish after their runners-up finish last year.
“They’re going to wrestle the tournament Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We’re going to be there and we’re going to wrestle hard,” Tramutola said of state. “We’re not going to worry about points and this and that. We’re going to worry about our 13 first-round matchups, and then we’ll assess the next round after that.”
Cass sends 11
Last season, Cass had a poor showing at sectionals, only sending four to state.
The Colonels still finished eighth in the traditional state tournament, and are primed for an even better finish this year as they will send 11 to state and have one alternate.
“As a head coach, it’s the most that I’ve qualified for state,” Cass head coach D.L. Koontz said. “I’m just really pleased with the way that they wrestled. We had a bunch of kids in the semis, and that’s where they finally saw a kid that was probably better than them. I think there was one kid who probably let one slip away, but for being such a young team as we are — of the 12 qualifiers and alternate, 10 of them [return next year] — the future is obviously looking good for us. So we’re going to go and see how many kids can medal next week.”
Cass had two wrestlers become sectional champs as Hunter Quinn placed first in the 138-pound weight class and Tripp Breeden won in the 195-pound weight class.
Quinn had lost the previous weekend at area to Cambridge wrestler and UT Chattanooga commit Brandon Filosi. This week, Quinn came out on top to win the sectional.
“[Quinn] had a good week of practice, and he really wanted that match. He sure went out and took it,” Koontz said. “Filosi was state champ two years ago, state runner-up last year. Not that it’s a surprise because you know he can beat the kid, but he was on a mission. For him to get that win, it was huge for him going into state.”
Cass also had six additional wrestlers reach the semifinals in their respective weight classes. Seven Richards was the sectional runner-up in the heavyweight class, Houston Jones placed third at 170, Tyler Pilcher placed fourth at 120, Jaylen Callahan placed fourth at 145, Khalil Farmer placed fourth at 152 and Chance Scrutchins placed fourth at 182.
Other qualifiers included Jordan Mitchell, who placed fifth at 132; C.J. McKnight, who placed fifth at 160; and Devin Garrett, who placed seventh at 113. Cody Mauldin will be the alternate as he finished ninth at 126.
“Tripp Breeden at 195, he avenged the loss at McCallie earlier this year for third and fourth, beating the kid from Union Grove. He beat him, 11-10,” Koontz said of positive results Cass wrestlers earned this weekend. “All those guys did a great job. ... I think most of the kids were in the placement match they should have been in. My freshman, C.J. McKnight at 160, the 160 is a man’s weight class. He’s a freshman. He’s a good wrestler, but for him to qualify, I thought it was good for him. He won a national tournament in Tennessee as an eighth-grader, was a USA state champ. So he has some accolades. But you’re talking about a 14-year-old boy wrestling 16-, 17-, 18-year-old men at that weight.”
Looking ahead to state, Koontz believes his team is in a good position after sectionals.
“I would expect a top 5 finish,” he said of his expectations at the state tournament. “We’d like to bring home some hardware.”
Adairsville qualifies 5
In Class 3A, Adairsville will be well represented at the state tournament next weekend with five state qualifiers.
Former state champ Daelen Harrison was the Tigers’ sectional champ in the 160-pound weight class, while Salvador Grimaldo was a finalist in the 106-pound weight class.
Also qualifying for Adairsville were Brice Burgess in fifth at 152, Henry Pabst in seventh at 170 and Nick Fuller in seventh at 195.
Cartersville sends 2
In Class 4A, Cartersville had two wrestlers qualify for sectionals and each will head to state.
Johnathan De La Cruz placed fifth in the 220-pound weight class while Robby Earick placed sixth at 126.
—Special contributor David Bishop provided information in this report.