As a result, the Bartow County dual meet Wednesday at Cass High did not carry the same significance and was treated as such, as several wrestlers were nursing injures they sustained over the weekend and not all of the teams’ top wrestlers were in the lineup.
Still, bragging rights are on the line whenever county rivals meet, and those rights belonged to Woodland as the Wildcats were crowned champions after defeating Cass and Adairsville.
Woodland defeated Cass in the first matchup by a score of 38-27. Jake Huffine at 120 pounds, Joseph Jones at 145, Isaiah Ross at 195 and Nathaniel Lehman as a heavyweight all had pins for Woodland.
Aaron Matthews at 220, Tyler Larson at 160 and Devin Mills at 152 recorded pins for Cass.
On the other mat, Adairsville defeated Cartersville by a score of 51-15. Cartersville was missing several key members of its lineup and was resting some wrestlers heading into the traditional season, which starts this weekend.
In the championship match, Woodland won by a score of 52-17 with pins coming from Ross, Jermel Lewis, Jacob May, Khalil Morris, Logan Sims, Jesus Montero, and Dalton Gilstrap.
Despite the victory, Woodland head coach Adrian Tramutola was not pleased with his team’s performance.
“Things are always weird for us the next week after state duals for some reason. We’re flat. We weren’t aggressive. I think it’s coming off that week of state duals. That’s four intense matches. It’s three days and it drains you. But no excuses. We’re here and we shouldn’t need that to motivate you to come wrestle,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what tournament we’re in, we expect to win. I don’t know if the Bartow County duals are something that we plan for, train for, but because, at the end of the day, there are only four teams. It’s not a huge tournament. It doesn’t qualify you for anything. I know it’s good for bragging rights, but no one is really bragging, especially after that performance.”
Technically, Cass finished third as Cartersville left after its match with Adairsville.
Cass head coach D.L. Koontz, as did Adairsville coach Joey Harris and Cartersville coach Garvin Edwards, did not use their No. 1 lineup during the meet. Koontz gave all his seniors a chance to wrestle as it was Cass’ last home meet and senior night.
Koontz said the timing had much to do with the lack of emphasis put on the Bartow County duals this year.
“It was the only time all year that we could find to get this thing in. We had a few No. 2s in tonight for sure, but I made sure that every senior that was healthy, no matter if they were a 1 or 2, was in the lineup as well,” Koontz said. “It’s fun to wrestle the other county schools, but there are just four teams in the county, three of them were at the state duals, and I think everybody is just trying to ice their bumps and bruises and get ready for the traditional part of the year.”
Each team is now done with the duals season and onto the individual portion of the schedule.
For Cass and Woodland, the traditional season gives the teams a chance to rid themselves of the sour taste of losing the state championship after coming within one match.
“I think the loss has been put in its place where it belongs. As far as the rest of it, now we’re in the second half of the season. In wrestling, you can win two state championships as a team. It’s the only sport you can do that in,” Koontz said of his team’s one-point loss in the state tournament. “They got over it. We talked about it on Monday. They realize that it’s a tough pill to swallow, but yesterday’s practice, maybe we practiced too hard, but we were a full go for an hour and a half of just beating the snot out of each other.”