There’s only one trip left to make. After traveling to Macon last year for the Class 3A statehigh school wrestling tournament, I witnessed both the beautiful and ugly side of a championship match.
Dalton High School’s Sidney Wheeler had a shocking come-from-behind victory in the 182-pound finals, and Southeast Whitfield’s Carlos Fraire fell just short in his 200-pound encounter. It was truly the agony and ecstasy of sports.
Both wrestlers return this weekend, and others have the opportunity to reach the same moment. Starting Thursday at the Macon Centreplex, Dalton, Murray County, North Murray, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast each has at least one wrestler gunning for a state championship. Five Raiders lead the way, while the Cats and Bruins each have two advancing from Friday and Saturday’s sectionals. The Indians and Mountaineers each qualified one.
So whether it is one of the returning finalists, or someone new like Murray County’s Clay Thornbury or Northwest’s Alex Reynolds, there’s a good chance the area has at least one wrestler make a run. Any wrestling enthusiast should make the trip down to Macon — don’t worry, it’s not a bad drive.
• Basketball teams also are in the postseason, and the one tournament that has already started is also the one taking place in Dalton.
Despite the Southeast boys being done for the season after their loss to LaFayette on Saturday, the Region 7-4A tournament still has plenty of local schools trying to notch a spot in the state playoffs.
Both Northwest teams have No. 1 seeds from Sub-region 7B, and the Dalton boys and girls are both seeded second. A surprise this season, the Southeast girls have a No. 3 seed after just winning one game last year. They have shocked some squads so far — the Lady Bruins, for starters — and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see them in the semifinals and making plans for the playoffs.
Be sure to check the prep schedule on page 3B for the complete list of postseason action for area teams.
• Some soccer teams don’t start playing until March, but today includes the first game for the Morris Innovative girls program.
The Lady Tigers play Pepperell in a Region 7-2A contest. It will start at 5 p.m. at Harmon Field. The boys start at 7 p.m. in their season opener after playing the inaugural season last year.
• Speaking of soccer schedules beginning today, it is time for area coaches and athletic directors to send in their spring sports schedules. This goes for varsity, junior varsity and middle school athletics as we will gladly print all schedules for local schools which always appear in the Scoreboard part of the sports section each day. Coaches and ADs are asked to send their schedules to email@example.com so all of your fans know when to show up.
• Any NASCAR fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Wednesday.
Unless you have a strong dislike for Kevin Harvick, head up to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Chattanooga. If you’re one of the first 250, you will have the chance to meet the driver.
The store, which is having its grand opening at 5768 Brainerd Road, will begin distributing tickets on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 7:30 a.m. At 10 a.m., ticket holders will meet Harvick, take a photo with the driver and get an autograph.
Harvick, who enters his 13th season in the Sprint Cup Series, finished eighth in 2012 for his third consecutive top-10 season finish. He won one race, finished five times in the top five and placed 14 times in the top 10.
Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. He thinks Fraire should be the one to end The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.