Pope again team to beat in region
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 04, 2013 12:44 AM | 1877 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A usual suspect come tournament time, Colton Lombardy, top, and the nationally ranked Pope wrestling team will be favored to win a sixth-straight region duals title Saturday.
<BR>Staff photo by Emily Barnes
A usual suspect come tournament time, Colton Lombardy, top, and the nationally ranked Pope wrestling team will be favored to win a sixth-straight region duals title Saturday.
Staff photo by Emily Barnes
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Pope will try to add another region duals title to its mantel when it hosts the 7AAAAA tournament Saturday.

The Greyhounds, ranked 34th in the nation according to the latest InterMat Fab 50 rankings, are the No. 1 seed in the 11-team field and own a 25-3 overall record. They are seeking their sixth straight region duals championship after winning three consecutive 6AAAAA titles from 2008-10 and the last two 5AAAA crowns.

Allatoona will be looking to earn its first region duals championship when it travels to South Paulding today to begin the 5AAAAA tournament, while Walker, Whitefield Academy, Mount Paran Christian and North Cobb Christian will head to Darlington for the Area 3A meet, which also begins today.

The champions and runners-up of each tournament will compete for the state championship next week at the Macon Centreplex.

Pope, after winning its first state duals title last season, is hoping for another.

“We’re going for six (region duals titles) in a row, so life is good right now,” coach Jim Haskin said. “It’s been a hard road, but guys are constantly working, and it’s paying off. We just have to keep it going. I’ve used a lot of different kids at different weights in the lineup, but we’re pretty set now with what we have.”

Kell is the No. 3 seed in the 7AAAAA tournament, with Sprayberry No. 7 and Osborne No. 9.

“This tournament is my nemesis,” Kell coach Steve Lattizori said. “We’ve qualified for state once in 11 years. Every year, something happens involving my team, and we don’t have all of our guys competing, and it’s no different this year.

“We must have finished third nine of the 11 times we’ve been in this thing. The bottom line is, we’ll likely have to wrestle (No. 2 seed) Creekview to advance to state, and they’re very tough. It will mean our guys need to step up and wrestle our best match of the year.”

Woodland-Bartow, North Paulding and Allatoona are the likely favorites for the Region 5AAAAA, while Gordon Lee and Mount Zion-Carroll are the favorites in Area 3A.
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