From Staff Reports
With the flipping of the calendar today, the Northwest Whitfield High School wrestling team has the Area 7-4A duals to look forward to this weekend. Looking back, they certainly have a lot of experience to draw upon.
Tuesday in Buckhorn, Ala., the Bruins finished fourth in the 16-team Battlefield Duals, marking the 31st dual match of the year after going 3-2 on the day. Along with tournaments which have been weight-class seeded, many of the wrestlers on the team have more than 40 matches under their belts.
“We have wrestled a lot in November and December,” Northwest coach Allen Tucker said. “Some of our kids have 50 matches already. We still have four or five more dual matches ahead of us — not counting the area duals this weekend. Hopefully all of that experience will pay off at the state tournament for some of these boys.”
The top two teams from each area will advance to the three-day state duals tournament Jan. 9-11 at the Macon Centreplex. The area traditional tournaments will begin Jan. 31 with the top four wrestlers in each weight class in the area advancing to the West sectionals. The state traditional tournament will start with sectionals on Feb. 7 with the state titles being decided Feb. 15 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
At the Battlefield Duals, the Bruins won their pool with three straight victories. Northwest beat Huntsville (Ala.) High 40-33, Johnson High (Huntsville, Ala.) 66-12 and Buckhorn High (New Market, Ala.) 42-37. In the semifinals, the Bruins lost to Georgia High School Association Class A powerhouse Bremen 53-15. In the battle for third, Scottsboro (Ala.) High won 37-34.
“That last one was a battle,” Tucker said. “We won the first seven matches, and they won the last seven matches. We wrestled well today, and we kind of ran out of gas in that last match.”
Bryan Gembe, who competes at 106 pounds, was 4-0 on the day to run his season record to 49-1. Cody Carlock was 2-0 at 126. Wrestlers with three-win days included Blake Hayes (113), Justin Palmer (120), Jimmy Peters (126/132), Jonathan Bergman (138), Austin Tayler (152/160), Jordan Pittman (170), Jordan Lewis (195) and Michael Robles (275).