These nine (seven from Sonoraville, two from Calhoun) earned their place into the State Traditionals in Macon which begin on Friday, and all still have a shot at the state title in their weight classes.
For Calhoun, who competed at the Class AA West Sectionals at Lamar County over the weekend, the tournament didn’t go as well as it could’ve, but two wrestlers still made it through. Donnell Anthony led the way, taking first place in the 160-pound weight class.
Anthony will return to State this year looking for his second straight state title, after winning gold at 138 last year.
Also qualifying from Calhoun was Luke Green, who finished fourth in sectionals at 182.
Up at Ringgold, Sonoraville had a solid weekend at the Class AAA West sectionals as seven Firebirds remain alive for a state title.
“All in all, I’m pretty happy with how we wrestled at Ringgold,” said Sonoraville coach Steve Hamilton. “We were hoping to get eight or nine qualified, but seven is still pretty good.”
Leading the way was Cody Kuhn, who earned a first-place finish at 152. Kyle Chastain (113) and Matt Charles (132) each lost their only matches at sectionals in the finals to earn second-place finishes, and Austin Tillman (126), Ryan Farist (152), Jarrett Derryberry (160) and Abel Diaz (182) each qualified for state with fourth-place finishes.
“I think some of our guys wrestled well up until they qualified, then they let up a little,” said Hamilton. “That puts us in a tougher position with seeding at state.
“The big thing for us is that six of these guys are underclassmen so to get there and have the opportunity will help them next year to have more experience. They will get a little taste of what it’s like, and that will help us build for the future.”
Hamilton said Kuhn, the lone senior in the group of seven, probably had the best shot at winning a state title, but you never know what’s going to happen once you get there.
“I think they are all capable of placing,” said Hamilton. “Cody probably has the best chance of winning it, but I’m not counting the other guys out either.
“The biggest thing I want the guys to do is relax and not get wrapped up in all of the things surrounding state. That will just add more stress, and I want them to go out and wrestle loose. I don’t want them to be content with just qualifying.”
The action in Macon actually begins on Thursday night with opening-round matches in classifications AAAA and higher, but the participants from Calhoun (AA) and Sonoraville (AAA) will wrestle their first matches on Friday. The tournament will continue through the semifinals on Friday night before the consolation semis, consolation finals and championship finals take place on Saturday.