Posted: Saturday, December 6th 2008 at 10:38pm
Wrestling: Jefferson dominates (again) at Panther Invitational
By Staff reports
JEFFERSON - The famous Panther Invitational Wrestling Tournament took place at Jackson County High in Jefferson on Saturday and featured 24 teams and over 700 potential match-ups.
Multiple champion Jefferson continued its domination this year with 11 wrestlers out of 14 classes reaching the finals. Six picked up championships and five finished second. The Dragons piled up 321.5 points. Gilmer was a distant second at 169. White County and Morgan County got the third and fourth place trophies.
Most Outstanding Wrestler in the lower weight classes was Commerce’s Doug Maloch, who won the 125-pound title, 12-8 over Jefferson’s Cam Thurmond. They had to take a second vote to decide the outstanding wrestler for the heavyweights. That honor eventually went to Jackson County’s Ryan Howe, who won the 189-pound title by pinning Jefferson’s Zack Allen.
The highest finishing Hall County team was Riverside, which finished just out of the top 10 in 11th place with 88.5. Gainesville wound up 14th; Chestatee 19th; and Johnson 23rd.
The top Hall County individual finisher was Chestatee’s Conner Comeaux, who was the 130-pound runner-up to Jefferson’s Cutler Finch, who won via pin. Other local wrestlers who placed included Gainesville’s Dane Hicks, who pinned Riverside’s James Nicholson for third at 125; Johnson’s Aaron Black who battled back through the 215-pound consolations, only to lose a 3-2 heartbreaker to Gilmer’s James Longino in the battle for third. Black had to settle for fourth, as he couldn’t quite get to Longino at the end of the match.
Other championship results included White County's Caleb Morris winning the 103-pound title over Cason Thurmond of Jefferson, 7-2; Jacob Akins of Morgan County taking 112 over Isaac Kelly of Jefferson, 7-5; Daniel Barber of Jefferson winning the 119-pound class over Gilmer's Danyuhl Becker with a pin; Adam Pollard of Alcovy taking 135 over Cain Finch of Jefferson 6-2; Jefferson's Wayne Elliot winning 140 over Travis Knight of Alcovy 2-0; Terry Orange of West Laurens taking the 145-pound championship with a 5-1 decision over Phillip Edwards of Commerce;
Kevin Spicer of Jackson County won the 152-pound title over Thomas Spears of Commerce with a pin; Jefferson's Jay Fowler pinned Ware County's Maurice Taylor at 160; Jefferson's Zac Crosby won the 171-pound championship by pinning Johnny Smith of West Laurens; Patrick Allen of Jefferson claimed the 215-pound division by pinning Jackson County's Jacob Hyder; and Central Gwinnett's Jacob Aiken-Phillips took the 285-pound class with a pin of Jake Smith of Lakeside.
Coverage of this year's Panther will also be featured on this week's edition of Hall County Sports Television at 9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. Saturday, and 9 p.m. Sunday on Charter Communications channel 23 -- and on the internet at hallcountysportstv.com.
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