The six local wrestling teams beginning area duals tournaments today have one thing in common — none of them are seeded to advance.
Dalton, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield head to Cedartown for the Area 7-4A double-elimination duals competition, while North Murray hosts Coahulla Creek and the rest of Area 2-3A. Murray County heads to Lovett for the Area 3-2A event. All action begins today and the area champions will be crowned Saturday with the top two teams in the area advancing to the team duals state championships in Macon on Jan. 10-12.
In last year’s tournament in Class 3A, Murray County was eliminated in two matches.
This season, the Indians are the only local team seeded to place in area.
Murray County (11-7 in duals competitions) enters with the No. 4 seed and has a 9 a.m. match against fifth-seeded Model. Lovett is the top seed, with Calhoun second and Westminster third.
To advance, the Indians probably still need to beat one of the area’s powerhouses.
“We haven’t even talked about anything like that,” Murray County coach Chris Thornbury said. “I didn’t seed the tournament, but I think we’re better than fourth. It’s a very competitive tournament. I think Lovett is pretty good. We haven’t seen these teams.”
In order to make the top two, the Indians need some help from “the upper weights,” Thornbury said.
“The kind of team I have, it’s really been a lot of fun this year, because different people have stepped up at different times,” he added.
For North Murray coach Steve Colley, the goals this weekend are fundamentally simple.
“The goal is to come out with nobody else hurt and to set up some seeding for area,” he said.
It has been a tough season for the Mountaineers (12-5) after finishing fifth in area last season. North Murray has had season-ending injuries to Brandon Brock (138) and Ethan Center with Matt Pelam (126) and Hagen Stealman (126) also sidelined with aches. The Mountaineers are seeded sixth and got a first-round bye, which equals a 6:30 p.m. match with third-seeded Rockmart. Sonoraville is the top seed, followed by Ringgold at No. 2, Rockmart and Cartersville at No. 4.
“I can argue for more, because we actually beat Adairsville,” Colley said Thursday before the seeding meeting. “I’m a realist. I won’t go in and say we’re the No. 4 seed, even though on paper we are, because it wouldn’t be the right thing.”
Coahulla Creek (4-10), which wasn’t seeded, faces fifth-seeded Adairsville in the first round at 5 p.m. Colts coach Anthony Thomas shares Colley’s thoughts on what this tournament is about.
“I just look at it as an individual effort tomorrow,” said Thomas, who only has one senior on the team. “Team-wise, you have to be in the top two to advance. I told them we weren’t a top-four seed and hopefully we get paired up with someone we could wrestle with.”