Prep Wrestling Notes: East Coweta, Northgate return to matBy DOUG GORMAN
For local high school wrestlers, it’s time to get back in the swing of things after a short break for Christmas.
That means rolling out the wrestling mats for some holiday competition.
The two-day tournament at Fayette County as been a good stage for local wrestlers in recent years.
Last year, Northgate’s Tyler Askey, who is a three-time state champion and undefeated in his high school career, and East Coweta’s Matthew Durham won individual titles at the tournament.
This year, they again compete in the Christmas Classic with hopes of helping their squads bring home team titles.
Askey signed with the to the University of Virginia and will wrestle for the ACC school starting next year after considering several other offers.
“I don’t think you will ever see another (high school) wrestler like Tyler,” Northgate head coach Adrian Anderson said earlier this season.
Earlier this month, East Coweta was declared the county champion in one of the closest tri-meets in the history of the event.
After battling Newnan to a 39-39 tie in the last matches of the day, the Indians were awarded the team title using a tie-breaking system based on takedowns thanks to a final pin by heavyweight Dawson Ellis while earning a county title at 285 pounds.
The Indians have also picked up solid efforts from Dusty Nelson (106 pounds), Durham (113), Blake Green (132), and Drew Higgins (138) this season.
But the Indians can also count on Zack Gabriel (120) and seniors John Guy (145) and Jamal Ragland to help East Coweta in its efforts to bring home a team title. James Walker also had one of the Indians’ six pins against Newnan to force a tiebreaker for the team title at the county championships.
Northgate is young and inexperienced in spots this season, but has picked up solid support from wrestlers in addition to Askey.
Ethan Bellora (126) and Tristan Parker joined Askey (189) as a individual county champion and could make a run this at this week’s tournament.
Michael Garris (126) and Michael Martin (186) also are adding some punch to the Vikings stable of wrestlers.
Newnan has also enjoyed plenty of success this season getting solid performances out of a collection of wrestlers and just losing out on a seocnd consecutive county title earlier this month.
Andrew Sowerbrower (120) has been one of the Cougars’ top wrestlers the last few years, earning a spot at state as a junior.
Now in his final season of high school wrestling, Sowerbrower captured the Individual county championship this year.
Newnan’s lineup is deep from top to bottom.
In addition to Sowerbrower, David Cornelius (145), Eric Shea (152), Tyler Vermilya (170) and William Langley (195) flexed their muscles earlier this year by winning individual county titles.
Max Davis (138) brings plenty of success to the mat for the Cougars.
The high school wrestling season becomes a sprint once teams return to school in January. Area duals are scheduled for the first weekend in January, followed by the state duals the following week. The top two teams from each area advance to the state duals the following week in Macon.
After state the duals, teams will gear up for the traditional area, sectionals and state tournaments in February.
Teams are hoping to use the next few weeks as a way to gear up for the duals and traditional tournaments.
“We are hoping to be right there come tournament time,” Herring said earlier this month.