North Murray High School Mountaineers

November 16, 2013

Mat time: New season brings hope, challenges

Who will find their place on the top step of the medal stand this season?

While there’s certainly no guarantee, in recent years it has been closer to a habit than not for a high school wrestling program in Murray County or Whitfield County to produce at least one champion at the state traditional tournament each season.

Last year it was Southeast Whitfield’s Carlos Fraire who won the 285-pound championship in Class 4A a year after finishing second.

What has been tougher for local teams is excelling at state duals. Although Southeast took a big step in making its first trip to the event last season, no area program has claimed a top-four finish since Dalton took second in Class 4A during the 2008-09 season.

Georgia High School Association wrestling teams began practicing in late October, and local teams will soon be on the competition mat, with some starting today with varsity or junior varsity events. However, the ultimate goal is to be ready for the postseason for duals in January and traditional (individual-based) tournaments in February.

Here’s a look at where local teams are starting the season and what they might have to get done to be ready for the postseason.

Coahulla Creek

Colts coach Anthony Thomas begins his third season at Coahulla Creek, which opened in 2011, with two things he’s never had at the school — a packed wrestling room and a full lineup.

He might add a third item to the list as well — the potential for unprecedented success.

After going through past seasons with few chances of winning dual meets because the Colts couldn’t fill half the weight classes, Coahulla Creek wrestlers now have the added incentive of competing not only for their own glory but that of the team. Thomas said he had more than 40 wrestlers at a recent practice and has depth at most weight classes, which he said puts the Colts “on even footing.”

The drive to wrestle harder won’t just show up on match day, either, Thomas believes.

“I’m just really tickled I’ve got a number of kids that have to wrestle off and win the spot (in the lineup),” he said. “Any time you’ve got that, you don’t have to be the only thing that motivates them to win.”

Thomas is looking to five seniors to lead the way: Francisco Sanchez (113/120), Labron Kendrick (138/145), Joseph Long (152), Austin Coker (152/160) and Alex Hefner (170). Sanchez has known the most success among the group. He is the only area medalist in program history, having placed fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior.

“Those five seniors are all athletic and have experience and can win some matches,” Thomas said. “How well they will do depends on how much work they put in.”

The Colts open their varsity schedule a week from today at Ringgold High School’s Tri-State Classic.

Text Only
North Murray High School Mountaineers
  • s-CCHS softball 8.jpg On a mission

    The local girls who visited the Dominican Republic last week on a mission trip through Score International tell a matching story.
    Toward the end of a visit to Pasitos de Jesus, a girls orphanage in Boca Chica, the children began singing the Gospel song “Mighty to Save” to their visitors.
    “It sent chills down your spine,” said Kala Franks, a rising senior at Coahulla Creek High School. “I felt they were ministering to me rather than us ministering to them.”

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • NW softball state championship file 1 mlh.jpg In the lineup again

    When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
    Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Murray-Newton2.jpg N. Murray second at Cam Newton

    Members of the North Murray High School football team and coaching staff pose with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, standing center, after finishing second in the third annual Cam Newton Foundation 7 on 7 Football Tournament at North Cobb High School in Acworth. The Mountaineers will advance to face other regional tournamentwinners at the Charlotte (N.C.) Championship Tournament on July 10-12. Northwest Whitfield also competed in the tournament with linebacker Clay Phillips (not pictured) being selected as a Tournament All-Star.

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • poty seth.jpg All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year

    As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • daltongirls.JPG Dalton girls finish second in Class 4A

    In the Class 4A girls state golf tournament last year, the Dalton High School team finished third at Nob North Golf Course. Monday, playing in the state championship at Waynesboro Country Club, the Lady Catamounts finished second by just two strokes.
    “There is just one more place left to win,” Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth said. “They have the time ahead of them to do it.”

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • N. Murray cheer duo headed to DSC

    CHATSWORTH — For North Murray cheerleader Tori Stainton, earning a spot on Dalton State College’s competition squad is the fulfillment of a long process. Classmate Stacia Baker went for a tryout on a whim and found her own spot with the Roadrunners.

    May 9, 2014

  • Phillips signing at NM 3 mlh.jpg No shortage of highlights this year for Phillips

    CHATSWORTH — When Grace Phillips finished posing for photos of her signing a volleyball scholarship with Andrew College on Monday in North Murray High School’s library, a crowd of supporters gathered for the ceremony put their hands together.
    It wasn’t the first time she’d heard applause during a memorable and achievement-filled senior year.

    May 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good day sends Dalton boys to state golf tourney

    With a spot in the Class 4A state tournament on the line, Dalton High School’s golf team put together one of its best rounds this season on a course coach Hunter Johnston said was as demanding as any the Catamounts had played this year.

    May 6, 2014