High School Wrestling

East Coweta wins back-to-back county titles

by Doug Gorman


East Coweta 152-pound wrestler Garrett Klinger gets the upper hand on Newnan’s Bradley Cobb before finishing off his opponent with a pin during Wednesday’s Coweta County Championships at John Thrower Gym. 

The East Coweta Indians flexed their wrestling muscle last night, winning the 2013 edition of the Coweta County Championship with a 56-21 victory over rival Newnan and a 47-21 win over Northgate.

It’s East Coweta’s second straight county title after Newnan won three years ago.

East Coweta has now brought home the county’s top honor seven times, including four under head coach Josh Herring’s watch.

“We are very happy,” said Herring. “We worked hard for it. We are not where we wanted to be yet, but we are getting there.”

East Coweta finished with 19 wins over the two victories 13 of which came by pin. The Indians pulled off eight pins against Newnan and six against Northgate as seven Indians earned individual All-County honors.

Zach Gabriel (120) Blake Green (138), Kevin Lashley (182), and Dawson Ellis (285) each won both of their matches by pins.

Dusty Nelson (103) earned All-County status with a pin and a forfeit while Matthew Durham (126) added a pin and a technical fall for the Indians. Garrett Klinger (145) won both of his matches by decisions.

Only four ECHS wrestlers lost by pin over the two matches.

Northgate placed three wrestlers on the All-County team with Michael Geres (112) getting a pin and a decision. Brady McCloud (152) also earned All-County status with two wins while Viking 160-pounder Alex DiTaranto made it on to the team with a pin over East Coweta’s Zack Wallace in the final match of the night.

Newnan had three wrestlers earn All-County status including 132-pounder Christopher Grier, who pinned both of his opponents. Teammates Nicholas Robinson (170) also had two pins to earn All-County recognition.

Christian Shellabarger (220) went 2-0 to earn all-county with a pin and a forfeit.

The 2013 tournament was the first for Newnan head coach Sean Hage and Northgate head coach John Waters.

In the match between Newnan and Northgate, the Cougars hung on for a 36-35 victory in a decision that came down to the last match of the night when Newnan lightweight Trevor Roberts took a 14-9 decision over Frank Ariello in the 106-pound division.

Newnan also picked up pins from Zachary Stevenson, Grier, Ladontae Godfrey, Robinson and Shellabarger. Northgate added pins from Michael Geres (112), Brady McCloud (152), Blake Lamb (192) and Reginald Ellis (285) in the match that went down to the wire.

Newnan and Northgate will meet again on Saturday in a six-team dual tournament starting at 9 a.m., at Northgate’s Johnny Brown Gym.

“It was really exciting today,” Walker said. “It’s a shame that we lost such a close match to Newnan, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We get another shot at Newnan and we are looking forward to that.”

Hage was happy with the way his team performed while finishing 1-1 in Wednesday’s tri-match.

“It was a lot of fun,” Hage said. “That barnburner against Northgate made it all worth it.”

This was the first time former Northgate wrestling coach Adrian Anderson wasn’t coaching the Vikings at the Coweta championships.

Anderson won the event nine times before retiring last year.

After Wednesday’s matches, it was announced the county trophy from now will named in Anderson’s honor.

“This was something we really wanted to do,” Herring said. “He has meant so much to wresting in this county.”

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