The Golden Bears, who finished third in the state in the Class A traditional state championship last year, led the Trojans by 26 points entering the championship rounds and held off a late charge to take the title with 221.5 points.
Lassiter finished second with 206, followed by Hillgrove (182), Chattahoochee (170) and Wheeler (157.5). Campbell (147) placed sixth, while Sprayberry (142), Central-Carroll (115), Walton (109), Armuchee (66), East Paulding (65), Mount Paran Christian (61) and North Cobb Christian (43) completed the 13-team field.
“It’s great for these guys to come in here and defend their title,” Holy Innocents’ coach Stacey Davis said. “This tournament just helps us build towards the rest of the season and gets us ready for the big tournaments later.
“It’s a stepping stone for us. We’re looking to find the holes we have on the team and make those corrections. There’s also some very good competition here.”
The Golden Bears advanced five wrestlers into the finals and came away with two champions — Owen Penn at 145 pounds and James Grimes at 195. Penn topped Walton’s Ryan Laban by an 11-0 major decision, while Grimes — the 170-pound Class A champion last year — pinned Lassiter’s Phillip Murray in 30 seconds.
Lassiter went 2-for-2 in finals, crowning Paul Pelletier at 126 and Hakim Shahid at 182. Pelletier pinned Hillgrove’s Cameron Westerman in 1:54, while Shahid pinned Holy Innocents’ Rod Davis 32 seconds into overtime.
Hillgrove placed five wrestlers in championship bouts and came away with one winner as Jaylin Reid pinned Wheeler’s K.C. Shaw in 5:10 in a hard-fought bout at 285.
“I think we did well,” Hillgrove coach Luke McSorley said. “We wrestled well. We had five guys in the finals and came away with a champion, so I’m not at all disappointed. We finished in the top three against some good competition, so we’ll take it.”
Of Chattahoochee’s four finalists, two — Jordan Pitt (113) and Mikey Cunningham (220) — took home titles. Pitt captured a 12-4 major decision over Wheeler’s Aslan Kilic, while Cunningham held off a late charge from the Hillgrove’s Peyton Hewitt to stake a 7-5 win.
Wheeler saw one of its three finalists take home a medal as Sergei Kilic pinned Hillgrove’s Christy Powell in 1:14 at 106 pounds.
Although Campbell didn’t win the event, it may have come away with just as important a prize as three of its four finalists won individual titles.
John Beasley started things off after a convincing 6-0 win over Chattahoochee’s Matt Picus at 132 pounds. Jamez Taylor then followed with an 11-5 triumph over Holy Innocents’ Brendan Quigley at 138, and Charles Robinson held off Chattahoochee’s Najeeanks Banks to post a 12-7 decision at 170 pounds.
“It’s really good to see how far these guys have come the last couple of years,” Campbell coach Shawn Slenczka said. “Before, we’d see a lot of our wrestlers end up in third- and fifth-place matches, and now they’re winning medals.
“I’m just so proud of them. They keep fighting and the hard work they put in just keeps paying off.”
Other winners included Sprayberry’s Thomas Cook, who defeated Campbell’s Jeremie Tuzizila 6-2 at 152 pounds, and Armuchee’s Braylen Scoggins, who won 7-2 at 120 pounds against Hillgrove’s Carlin Powell.
Central-Carroll’s Jarrett Thomas defeated Holy Innocents’ Grant Chastain at 160 pounds.