Prep Wrestling: Newnan hopes for strong finish

The Newnan High School wrestling team has quickly moved past its disappointing finish at the Area 3-AAAAAA Duals earlier this month that kept it from advancing to Macon and the state duals for the second year in a row.
Now, head coach Tom Everett’s squad is looking for a strong finish down the stretch as it gears up for the traditional area, sectionals and state events.
“I am always pleased with the effort of my team, but we are still young in spots, so some of our guys are going to be a year or two behind other wrestlers,” Everett said.
Newnan’s road to the Gwinnett Arena and the GHSA State Tournament started last weekend and continues Saturday in the final regular-season tournament in Bowdon.
The Cougars put together a solid effort last weekend at Whitewater’s annual Southside Brawl, advancing out of pool play and sending several wrestlers into the final day of competition.

“This was a great showing for us,” Everett said. “In the past, we have gone to the tournament and been done on Friday.”

Senior Andrew Sowerbrower turned in the strongest showing among the Cougars, reaching the finals in the 120-pound division.

“He had a great match in the finals, he just faced a very tough opponent,” Everett said. “It was just a great tournament for him.”

Other Newnan wrestlers competed on the final day of the Southside Brawl, including Xavier McCrary (126). Max Davis (145), wrestled in perhaps the toughest weight class, but was also around to compete on on Saturday.

Newnan picked up plenty of support from its heavier weight classes at the Whitewater tournament. David Quesinberry (182) and Nick Robinson (215) also moved on to the second day.

Senior Nathan McGaha (132) continues to battle back from a knee injury, but also turned in a solid effort for the Cougars.
“We are getting better,” Everett said. “We are not going to scare anybody, but we have a bunch of young kids and they have come a million miles.”

Like many teams this time of year, the injury bug has taken a bite out of the Cougars’ lineup.

Jacob Shea (106) is on crutches, but could be back in time of the region tournament.

“He has done a really good job, but we are just going to wait and see what the doctors tell us,” Everett said.

Newnan has also counted heavily this season on Eric Shea (152) and Christian Shellabarger (220).

One of the biggest lessons Everett is trying to teach is younger wrestlers in that wrestling is a thinking man’s sport.

“You have to block out mistakes, and know what is and isn’t going to work” he said. "Andrew Sowerbrower is good because he always has something going on his head. You have to watch you opponent and always be thinking ahead.”

Win or lose, Everett said these late-season tournaments are going to make his team better.

“It will give us a chance to wrestle against some teams we normally don’t see,” Everett said. “It is a really competitive tournament and a good tune up for us.”

Newnan is taking its junior varsity to a tournament at Sandy Creek.

“It’s gives our guys who normally don’t wrestle with the varsity a chance to compete,” Everett added. “We are trying to develop guys, and this is a good way to do it. Our guys know there is no where to go from here. We want to make a strong showing.”

This year’s traditional 3-AAAAAA meet will be held on Feb. 2 at East Coweta High School with a spot at the state sectionals on the line. Both East Coweta and Northgate were in action on Wednesday against opponents from Fayetteville. The Indians traveled to Whitewater and the Vikings wrestled Region 4-AAAAA foe McIntosh in Peachtree City.

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