February 23, 2014

Dalton’s Wheeler a state wrestling champion again

Three others finish second

The fourth encounter between Dalton High School’s Sidney Wheeler and Southeast Whitfield’s Austin Allen may have been the best.

Despite Allen’s best efforts, Wheeler now can call himself a two-time 182-pound state wrestling champion.

Wheeler, who won the 2012 Class 3A state title in the same weight class, won 8-6 in overtime Saturday in the Class 4A state traditional tournament at West Laurens High School against the kid he’d faced and beaten three times this season.

Aside from Allen, Southeast’s Omar Ruiz (120) also finished as a runner-up at the same tournament. In Class 2A, Murray County’s Clay Thornbury (195) finished second at Toombs County High School.

Wheeler’s teammate, Dylan Carlile (132), finished third at the 4A tournament, where Northwest’s Austin Taylor (152) was fifth and Jordan Pittman (170) was sixth.

Wheeler and Allen faced once at Dalton High School’s Carpet Classic tournament, once at the Area 7-4A traditional tournament and once at the Class 4A West sectional. Wheeler won all three meetings, the third via pin, but the fourth matchup was the most competitive. None of the first three matches went to an extra period.

“Austin gave a great match,” Wheeler said. “It was a well-de-served win and he was a great opp-onent. ... I’m just happy I can walk away with a win. It wouldn’t be possible without my family, coaches and God.

“I didn’t have a good run the whole tournament. It came back to me in the finals. Austin did the same.”

Neither wrestler scored in the first period of their final matchup. Allen gained a 3-0 edge after choosing to start the second period on bottom, escaping for one point and following with a two-point takedown. Wheeler tied it up with a two-point takedown following Allen being penalized one point for locking his hands.

“The first period was a lot of feeling each other out,” Southeast coach Michael Herndon said, “and the second period was a lot of action.”

Wheeler led 6-4 late in the third period but Allen tied it up with a takedown with around 10 or 15 seconds left, Herndon said. In overtime, where the first person to score wins, Wheeler got a single-leg takedown on Allen for the clinching two points.

“It was pretty early in overtime,” Dalton coach Michael Keefe said. “It was an incredible match on both their parts.”

Wheeler said he saw his chance and “took it.”

“There’s not much more to say than that,” Wheeler said. “Austin is a great wrestler.”

Herndon said this was the most competitive of the four meetings between the two seniors.

“Austin has had a great season,” he said. “He’s up near 60 wins this year. He’s only lost four times, all to Sidney Wheeler.”

The previous year Wheeler won a state title, Allen made it to state but lost both his matches. Last year, Allen was one win from placing at state.

“It hurts any way you look at it,” Herndon said. “We’ve worked all year. It hurts to know there is just one kid you had to beat. Sidney is a great wrestler, but we’re proud of Austin. Finishing second to a kid who already won state, we know Austin had a great season.”

Ruiz, a runner-up in the Class 4A West sectional to Gilmer’s Daniel Bautista, lost to Bautista via pin in the championship. Ruiz is a junior and can follow up next season on an impressive year.

“We’re definitely glad to have him back,” Herndon said. “The kid from Gilmer is a senior and wrestled at a different level than he did last week. He knew it was his last shot. We expected Omar to do well. At those lower weights, you’re never sure how people will do.”

After splitting two matches Friday, Carlile won four matches on Saturday to conclude his senior year.

“He finished third in a weight class with three state champions,” Keefe said. “He wrestled a great state tournament.”

Southeast’s Tyler Brown (145) lost in the first round of the consolation bracket, going 0-2 at the tournament.

Thornbury, the champion from the Class 2A West Sectional, won three matches Saturday to reach the finals but lost via pin to Toombs County’s J.D. Rogers.

Thornbury’s teammate, Domingo Bautista (113), lost his first two matches.

In Class 4A, Pittman started the day in the semifinals and was two wins from a state title before losing in the semifinals and losing two matches in the consolation bracket.

Northwest’s other state qualifiers were Blake Hayes (113), Justin Palmer (120) and Jordan Lewis (195). Hayes and Palmer each lost in the consolation quarterfinals, one spot from placing. Lewis, a freshman, lost in the consolation first round. The other four Bruins are juniors.

“All our kids wrestled well,” Northwest coach Allen Tucker said. “For some of them, they didn’t get out of sectionals (last season). Both Austin and Jordan went from being sectional guys to state placers.”

At the Class 3A tournament at Buford High School, Coahulla Creek’s Francisco Sanchez (113) went 0-2.

Text Only
  • DHS at SE soccer 4 mlh.jpg Region 7-4A championship

    If recent history is any indication, this week’s Region 7-4A championship game may not be the last time the boys soccer teams at Dalton and Southeast Whitfield stand opposed to one another this season.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • St Louis at Rampage 4 mlh.jpg No Attack for Rampage

    The Georgia Rampage’s offense didn’t do anything in the first half — evident by the scoreboard.
    By the time new quarterback Bart Gloyd stepped in, a comeback was out of reach.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Dalton, Auburn QB Carter passes away

    When former Dalton High School football coach Bill Chappell learned one of his former players had died Saturday, he was shocked. His second reaction was sadness, not just because of Loran Carter’s athletic legacy but also his outstanding character.

    April 19, 2014

  • Golf at NobNorth 1  mlh.jpg Prep golf: DHS, rain steady for Nob Invite

    With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled for Tuesday at Nob North Golf Club, Dalton coach Hunter Johnston was pleased that his team finally got its first victory of the season Saturday in Cohutta at the Nob North Invitational.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Hawley: Cancer will not hinder Run for John’s finish

    With the seventh annual Run for John races scheduled for Saturday in Dalton, there is a community focus this week on the family of the late John Bruner.

    April 19, 2014

  • DSC women win finalé

    The Dalton State College women’s tennis team earned a 5-0 win in a rain-shortened match at home against Snead State to conclude its season.

    April 19, 2014

  • Play ball on the Westside

    The long-awaited Westside Park opened to rave reviews on April 10, with baseball teams ranging from 6 to 12 years christening the the newest Whitfield County recreation facility.

    April 19, 2014

  • DHS at Heritage 1 mlh.jpg Generally disappointed

    Dalton High School’s baseball team started the fifth inning of Friday’s crucial Sub-region 7B-4A game against Heritage-Catoosa with four consecutive hits.
    The only problem for the Catamounts was that was where their good hitting started and stopped.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prep roundup: Upset puts N. Murray in baseball playoffs

    Over the past few seasons, a late-season game with Sonoraville has been the deciding factor in whether the North Murray High School baseball team advanced to the state playoffs.

    April 18, 2014

  • Miller, Mariners off to NAIA title tournament

    Former Dalton High School golf standout Chase Miller is finishing his senior year at College of Coastal Georgia on a high note.

    April 18, 2014