Posted: Saturday, February 2nd 2013 at 11:59pm
Wrestling: Chestatee comes to grips with another title in 8-AAAA traditionals
By Morgan Lee Editor
Chestatee's Tommy McCormack, right, looks to get a hold of Lumpkin County's Andrew Davis on Saturday in the Area 8-AAAA Traditionals in Gainesville. McCormack won the match 6-4.
GAINESVILLE -- Last season Chestatee wrestling couldn't find a way to break through -- this season the War Eagles can't stop winning.
After finishing second in three major tournaments last season, Chestatee has claimed a trio of historic titles in 2013, including the latest on Saturday in the Area 8-AAAA Traditionals in Gainesville.
"I think the guys got tired of finishing second and just came together," War Eagles coach Carey Whitlow said.
Chestatee finished in front of Lumpkin County, surging past a game Indians squad in the championship round with four champions -- including 160-pound Tommy McCormack, who edged Lumpkin County's Andrew Davis 6-4 to claim the individual title and put the War Eagles in front for good.
"I knew I had to win, and I knew had to stay off my back," said McCormack, who earned his first spot in the state sectionals with the victory. "I lost to (Davis) at state (duals) already this season, so I feel great about this. It took a lot of hard effort."
Jose Reyes-Levallee (106 pounds), Austin Donaldson (120) and Cody Humphries (170) also clinched titles on Saturday, while four other War Eagles finished second. In all Chestatee qualified 10 competitors for next week's sectionals.
“That’s not too bad, and if everything goes well (next week at sectionals) we should take eight to the state finals (Feb. 14-16 in Macon),” Whitlow said. “We’ve got some state placers on this team, and they’ve worked hard.”
Lumpkin County will also send plenty of representatives to next week’s Class AAAA East sectionals at West Laurens High, as 12 Indians finished inside the top four -- including champions Greg Hilliard, who pinned Chestatee’s Bartolo Velasquez in the 113-pound finale, and Daniel Locklear (138).
“We were 40 points behind Chestatee after the second round and closed that gap and even pulled ahead at one point, so that was pretty impressive,” said Lumpkin County coach Brian Matthews, who watched two other Indians finish second. “We’re not disappointed to finish second, the kids wrestled hard. Last year we were third and this year we were second, and of the 12 guys that will go to sectionals, nine are underclassmen, so we’re getting better each year.”
There were also plenty of smiles for Johnson’s wrestlers on Saturday, as the Knights battled their way to fourth, led by 195-pound champ Jose Martinez.
“We’ve worked hard this year to do something big, and we did it,” said Martinez, who saw five teammates also qualify for sectionals, including runner-up Pedro Estrada (220). “This was a good warm-up for sectionals.”
Martinez overcame an incidental shoulder from Eastside’s Garrett Yates in the opening moments of their bout to come back and win by pin in the first period.
“His shoulder caught me in the throat,” said Martinez, who took a quick injury timeout to recover befoe charging to the victory. “My coach was like, ‘hurry up; you’re giving him breathing time,’ ” Martinez said.
Stephens County finished just behind Johnson in fifth place, also qualifying six wrestlers for sectionals -- including 220-pound champ Josh Hale, who pinned Estrada in the second period of their match.
The day undeniably belonged to the War Eagles, however, who -- one week after claiming their first Hall County Duals crown -- kept their watershed season rolling.
"We had eight guys in the finals, including a surprise," Whitlow said.
"Those were some big points for us there," Whitlow said. "Lumpkin County scared us for a long time, but we came up big tonight."
The performance followed last week's adrenalin rush and an intense week or practice.
“It felt like we practiced harder this week than any other week this season,” said Chestatee’s Austin Donaldson, who took down Monroe Area’s Brad Nguyen 11-0 in the 120-pound title bout. “All you have to do is win two matches next week to get to state, but I have to wrestle better. I’ve got to work on my feet, work on my takedowns and keeping guys down on the mat.”
Those War Eagles lucky enough to continue their practice regimen this week and beyond will return to the confines of the Sardis Recreation Center -- a venue the team feels has played a key role in their ascent in 2013.
“It’s great because we’re out there on our own and we don’t have to worry about anything,” Whitlow said. “It leaks when it rains and the sewage needs work, but when the whistle blows nobody cares. Their just out there working hard.”
Area 8-AAAA Traditional Tournament Results
At Chestatee High
Top four finishers, Sectional qualifiers
1. Jose Reyes-Levallee, Chestatee
2. Blake Wilson, Monroe Area
3. Tristin Duckworth, Lumpkin County
4. Rod Boley, Eastside
1. Greg Hilliard, Lumpkin County
2. Bartolo Velasquez, Chestatee
3. Levi Leach, Eastside
4. Joey Fletcher, Monroe Area
1. Austin Donaldson, Chestatee
2. Brad Nguyen, Monroe Area
3. Patrick Cochran, Eastside
4. Micah Mihok, Lumpkin County
1. Misha Felton, Eastside
2. Christian Zapatero, Chestatee
3. Tommy Luc, Johnson
4. Alex Ward, Lumpkin County
1. Max Nash, Madison County
2. Zach Cheshire, Chestatee
3. Robert Harris, Lumpkin County
4. Aaron Martinez, Johnson
1. Daniel Locklear, Lumpkin County
2. Edy Lee, Lanier
3. Fredis Velasquez, Johnson
4. Danny Tran, Chestatee
1. Kevin Thompson, Eastside
2. Drake Barnes, Chestatee
3. Thad Teasley, Stephens County
4. Victor Ramos, Lumpkin County
1. Tyler Campbell, Eastside
2. Grey Williams, Lanier
3. Eddie Daniel, Lumpkin County
4. Eric Smith, Madison County
1. Tommy McCormack, Chestatee
2. Andrew Davis, Lumpkin County
3. Tanner Ruhlen, Stephens County
4. Cody Pitts, Lanier
1. Cody Humphries, Chestatee
2. David Fuller, Stephens County
3. Bradley Womack, Lumpkin County
4. Ethree King, Eastside
1. John Callihan, Monroe Area
2. Jeremy Taylor, Lanier
3. Mitchell Troutman, Eastside
4. Devin Burns, Stephens County
1. Jose Martinez, Johnson
2. Garrett Yates, Eastside
3. Grayson Entrekin, Chestatee
4. Aaron Moss, Stephens County
1. Josh Hale, Stephens County
2. Pedro Estrada, Johnson
3. Bradley Ferguson, Monroe Area
4. David Sierra, Lumpkin County
1. Chauncy West, Lanier
2. Zach Kile, Lumpkin County
3. Grayson Williams, Monroe Area
4. Lyrick Bright, Johnson
2. Lumpkin County
5. Stephens County
6. Monroe Area
8. Madison County
9. Walnut Grove
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