Sports

November 16, 2013

Mat time: New season brings hope, challenges

Who will find their place on the top step of the medal stand this season?

While there’s certainly no guarantee, in recent years it has been closer to a habit than not for a high school wrestling program in Murray County or Whitfield County to produce at least one champion at the state traditional tournament each season.

Last year it was Southeast Whitfield’s Carlos Fraire who won the 285-pound championship in Class 4A a year after finishing second.

What has been tougher for local teams is excelling at state duals. Although Southeast took a big step in making its first trip to the event last season, no area program has claimed a top-four finish since Dalton took second in Class 4A during the 2008-09 season.

Georgia High School Association wrestling teams began practicing in late October, and local teams will soon be on the competition mat, with some starting today with varsity or junior varsity events. However, the ultimate goal is to be ready for the postseason for duals in January and traditional (individual-based) tournaments in February.

Here’s a look at where local teams are starting the season and what they might have to get done to be ready for the postseason.

Coahulla Creek

Colts coach Anthony Thomas begins his third season at Coahulla Creek, which opened in 2011, with two things he’s never had at the school — a packed wrestling room and a full lineup.

He might add a third item to the list as well — the potential for unprecedented success.

After going through past seasons with few chances of winning dual meets because the Colts couldn’t fill half the weight classes, Coahulla Creek wrestlers now have the added incentive of competing not only for their own glory but that of the team. Thomas said he had more than 40 wrestlers at a recent practice and has depth at most weight classes, which he said puts the Colts “on even footing.”

The drive to wrestle harder won’t just show up on match day, either, Thomas believes.

“I’m just really tickled I’ve got a number of kids that have to wrestle off and win the spot (in the lineup),” he said. “Any time you’ve got that, you don’t have to be the only thing that motivates them to win.”

Thomas is looking to five seniors to lead the way: Francisco Sanchez (113/120), Labron Kendrick (138/145), Joseph Long (152), Austin Coker (152/160) and Alex Hefner (170). Sanchez has known the most success among the group. He is the only area medalist in program history, having placed fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior.

“Those five seniors are all athletic and have experience and can win some matches,” Thomas said. “How well they will do depends on how much work they put in.”

The Colts open their varsity schedule a week from today at Ringgold High School’s Tri-State Classic.

Text Only
Sports
  • DSCsoccer2.jpg Ready to get started: Roadrunners add Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh called Kerem Daser a good “fit” as the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CreekFootball.jpg Coahulla Creek enters new era with Barger

    VARNELL — With just two varsity football seasons to its credit and little success in the win column so far, Coahulla Creek High School doesn’t yet have what one would call a proud football history.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rush turning to Gold's

    Dalton is gaining a Gold’s Gym, but losing The Rush Fitness Complex.

    July 30, 2014

  • Dalton State College hires Kerem Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh said Tuesday that Kerem Daser, a veteran soccer coach, is the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 29, 2014

  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014