First-year head coach Lorenzo Floyd returned to head coaching this year after taking time off to go back to school. Prior to his hiatus he was the head wrestling coach at Osborne in Cobb County from 2005 to 2007.
“Overall we haven’t done as well as I would like. We lost five seniors to graduation last year and other possible returners did not return to the team this year,” said Floyd.
The loss of upperclassmen has caused Floyd to put seven freshmen in the starting lineup. This lack of experience has been a weakness for the team, but he noted that despite their underdeveloped skills they are very competitive.
“We’re peaking as we’re going into the region. I think we’re going to do well,” Floyd said.
He said four wrestlers are standing out on the team and keeping Paulding County in the game — sophomore Brandon Ballard, junior Jake Blue, senior Ryan Cole and sophomore Thomas Seih.
Cole is the leader of the team and according to Floyd and others, the best wrestler on the team. Competing at 132 pounds Cole has 32-2 season record and carries the team.
Ballard wrestles as a heavyweight in the 285-pound class despite weighing in at 220.
“He’s one of the leaders on the team and can be very vocal at times. He’s a strong wrestler even though he is at least 60 pounds lighter than his competition, but he’s learning how to offset the difference,” said Floyd.
Blue wrestles at 126 and has seen some injuries. He tore his ACL last year and has had a couple of injuries this year, but Floyd said he should be competing in state competition should he not get injured again.
Seih competes at 220 pounds and is described as a quiet, methodical wrestler. He has won matches in a few tournaments..
“I’m looking forward to seeing him compete in individuals,” said Floyd.