There are those expected to advance.
Then there are the surprises.
Local high school wrestling teams begin competition at their respective area traditional tournaments today, with Murray County hosting the Area 3-2A tournament, Coahulla Creek and North Murray heading to Central Carroll for the Area 2-3A tournament and Dalton, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield at Gilmer for the Area 7-4A tournament.
In Area 3-2A, competition begins at 5:30 p.m. today and 10 a.m. Saturday, with the finals anticipated at 3:30 p.m. In Area 2-3A, competition starts at 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday, with the finals expected at 3 p.m. In Area 7-4A, start times are 4 p.m. today and 8:30 a.m. Saturday, when the finals are slated for 4 p.m.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to next week’s sectional tournaments, where finishing in the top half of the bracket will grant them a spot in the state tournament.
At each of the area tournaments involving local teams, local wrestlers are among those who are either seeded high or expected by their coaches to do well. Yet each team is hoping for one or two eyebrow-raising performances from someone unexpected.
Murray County coach Chris Thornbury, who has led the Indians since the early 1990s and is the longest tenured among area coaches, knows the traditional postseason is good for a few strange turns of events. In addition to upsets on the mat, there could be controversial calls and wrestlers who either suffer an injury, don’t make weight or are ejected from competition.
Like other coaches, Thornbury just hopes the bracket shockers are wearing his team’s colors. He’s seen “unbeatable” wrestlers lose before and doesn’t want his team to pay attention to “hype.”
“We talk to our guys about competing,” Thornbury said, “because there are things that are going to happen in these next three weeks you never dreamed would happen. People are going to be shocked. But you can’t control those things, so you’ve got to compete and seize the day when the opportunity arises.”
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