Prep Wrestling: One down, three to go for Northgate's AskeyFrom STAFF REPORTS
MACON — Northgate senior Tyler Askey advanced without breaking much of a sweat during the first day of the GHSA State Wrestling Championships, needing three more victories to finish an undefeated varsity career with a fourth consecutive title.
But it was otherwise a rough day for local entries against the toughest competition presented this season. Four first-time qualifiers dropped their opening match.
Along with Viking teammate Michael Geres in Class AAAAA, East Coweta teammates Matthew Durham and Dusty Nelson and Newnan sophomore Christian Shellabarger were unable to advance in Class AAAAAA while now facing elimination to start today’s wrestlebacks.
Entering the Class AAAAA tournament at 39-0 in the 170-pound weight class, Askey needed just over a period to advance. The University of Virginia signee pinned Glynn Academy’s Kenneth Sledge at the 12-second mark of the second period, advancing to face East Paulding’s Josh Salter in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals.
Salter, who improved his record to 37-10, held off Cedar Grove’s Josh Hardy with a 15-10 decision.
Geres, meanwhile, lost a tough 9-6 decision in the first round of the Class AAAAA 106-pound weight class to Effingham’s Isiah Royal. Geres (37-11) takes on Dunwoody sophomore Tyler Lu (29-13) to open today’s wrestlebacks.
In Class AAAAAA, East Coweta’s Durham was also on the wrong side of a heartbreaking 9-8 defeat to Camden County’s Chris Bartek in the 113-pound division that ended in overtime. Durham will try to stay alive against Brookwood’s Drew McCorkle, who suffered a 10-9 loss to Keywan Gaines of Douglas County.
East Coweta freshman 106-pounder Dusty Nelson, meanwhile, faces Camden County’s Devlin Ryan in today’s AAAAAA wrestlebacks after being defeated by Rockdale’s Alonzo Allen.
Representing Newnan in his first year as a varsity starter, sophomore 220-pounder Christian Shellabarger faces a rematch today against Marietta’s Brandon Hill after falling in Thursday’s first-round to Colquitt County’s Travis Register. Shellabarger scored a first-period pin against Hill in last weekend’s West Sectionals.