Published Thursday, January 31, 2013
By DOUG GORMAN
In 26 seasons, Northgate head coach Adrian Anderson has rolled out the mats for some pretty impressive wrestlers.
None, however, have been better than 170-pounder Tyler Askey.
Askey heads to this weekend's Area 4-AAAAA tournament at Ola with more than 180 wins and three state titles while beginning the final stretch of a four-year varsity career in Georgia having never surrendered a loss.
"It's all about work ethic with Tyler," said Anderson following practice Thursday with Askey still working in the background. "We shut down practice 15 minutes ago, and he's still out there working hard,"
It's hard not to be impressed with the numbers Askey has put up, but Anderson, who plans to resign as head coach at the end of the year, is just has impressed with the rest of his squad and their hard work.
"I think this team improved more than any team I have ever had," Anderson said.
Anderson said things began to click for the Vikings right around Christmas. That's when the younger members of Northgate squad won a jayvee meet at Union Grove.
"Somewhere along the way, we ended up winning seven dual meets," Anderson said. "That sort of surprised me because it is not like we wrestled an easy schedule."
Anderson admits he wouldn't be surprised if at least seven wrestlers finish in the top four in their respective weight classes and advance to the Class AAAAA state sectionals at Allatoona High School next week.
Tristian Parker (160-pounds) is one of the Vikings' most improved wrestlers this season.
"He was good when he transfered into here from Crawford County," Anderson said of Parker, who won a county title in at December's championships. "But now his mat wrestling is so much better. He has gotten to the point where he can put people away now."
Michael Geres (106) is also finishing up strong for the Vikings.
"He could potentially win the region," Anderson said. "What he has done is get rid of the bad match. He had a tendency to have a bad match in tournaments, but he has sort of gotten over that."
Brian McNeal (113), a freshman, could also wrestle his way into next week's Class AAAA sectionals.
"We are expecting big things out of him over the next few years," Anderson said. "He is just doing some outstanding things. He has been willing to do anything I ask of him. He has jumped up to another level."
Others like Jacob Kessinger (120) have been wrestling above their weight class in order to help the Vikings.
"He could really wrestle 106, but he is willing to do anything for the team," Anderson said.
Ethan Bellora (126) earned individual county honors earlier this year and has been one of the Vikings' most successful wrestlers, especially at the end of the regular season.
"He has really come on this year," Anderson said.
Anderson expects Angel Fuentes (132) to make a solid run through his bracket at this weekend's area tournament. Fuentes joined the wrestling team later in the season, but has really picked up the sport.
"He has really gotten into wrestling shape," Anderson said. "He is a little bit unorthodox, but it works for him, so we are not about to change it."
Conner Lawson (138) began the season at 132, but moved up one weight class when he lost a wrestle-off to Fuentes.
'He is actually wrestling better at 138 than he was at 132," Anderson said.
Others like Senior Kenyon Little (145) have "gotten aggressive here at the end of the year," Anderson said.
Freshman Alex DeToronto (160) has also caught on late while posting a 5-2 record over his last seven matches.
Austin Black (195) is one of the Vikings best wrestlers in the upper weight classes.
Jaylan Buchanan, at 220 pounds, is another one of the team's younger wrestlers and has won two out of his last three matches coming into the area tournament while Brian Clarkston is slated to wrestle at the heavyweight spot.