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Area traditional wrestling tourneys begin road to state
January 29, 2013 03:37 PM | 2574 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Nathan Self<br>Lovett's Kyler Allen puts a move on Westminster's Alex Balser during a match last week.
Staff / Nathan Self
Lovett's Kyler Allen puts a move on Westminster's Alex Balser during a match last week.
Local wrestlers will try to take one step closer to state berths this weekend when they compete in the area traditional wrestling tournaments.

The top four individual finishers in each weight class will advance to the state sectionals Feb. 8 through 10.

The eight highest finishers at the sectionals will then move on to the state tournament in Macon the following weekend.

Holy Innocents’, fresh off of its runner-up finish in Class A at the state duals Jan. 11 and 12, will aim for its second consecutive area wrestling championship at the Area 4A meet in Commerce.

The Golden Bears, the 3A champions a year ago, will be joined by cross-town rival Mount Vernon Presbyterian in the tournament. Fellowship Christian, Mount Pisgah Christian and St. Francis are also among the field of teams.

Holy Innocents’ comes into the 4A tournament with plenty of momentum after tying for sixth with Woodward at its Prep Slam event, which had a 33-team field that included squads from seven states, Jan. 18 and 19.

Jason Grimes, who won the 182-pound weight class at the Prep Slam, and Rod Davis — a runner-up at 170 in that tournament — are among the top area contenders for the Bears.

Lovett and Westminster will contend for team titles at the Area 3AA traditionals at Murray County High School in Chatsworth.

The Lions, a third-place finisher in AA at the state duals, are going for their second area titles in three years — having won the 6AA crown in 2011 and placing runner-up in that same region last year.

“We are looking forward to the area traditional tournament and competing for some individual medals [at the state meet] in Macon,” Lovett coach Billy Maldonado said. “We have a lot of seniors that have been waiting for this part of the season for a long time.”

Lovett came away with a 10th-place finish at the Prep Slam, with Kyler Allen finishing runner-up at 113 and Patrick Keough (160) and Cory Erdoes (182) each advancing to the semifinals in their weight classes.

Westminster enters the tournament at less than full strength after losing five of its starters — including heavyweight (285 pounds) Justin Geeza, the team’s lone returning area champion from a year ago — to season-ending injuries.

However, coach Bobby Hayes is confident that his Wildcats can duplicate their third-place performance at the 3AA dual meet earlier this month.

“I believe, despite the many injuries, we can finish in the top two or three at traditional area — just as we did at area duals — as long as the starters who are still healthy do what is expected of them,” Hayes said.

Riverwood and North Springs will compete at the 7AAAAA tournament at Creekview High School in Canton.

North Atlanta will attempt to qualify wrestlers for the sectionals at the 6AAAAA meet in Dunwoody.

Pace is competing in the 3A tournament at Mount Zion of Carroll County, with Whitefield also among the teams.

Marist is hosting the 6AAAA tournament, while Woodward is playing host to the 3AAA meet — which includes St. Pius X and Blessed Trinity — and Campbell will be in the 4AAAAAA at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw.

Which team -- Holy Innocents' or Lovett -- will win its area championship?

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