With Pope, Hillgrove, Kell, Sprayberry and Lassiter situated in Pool A, and Whitewater, Walton, Riverwood, Wheeler, Campbell and Kennesaw Mountain in Pool B, it wasn’t a surprise to see the Greyhounds and Wildcats battle for the championship in final round.
“When I put the pools together, I figured it would be either those two teams or Pope and Kennesaw Mountain would end up where they were,” said first-year Hillgrove coach Shawn Slenczka. “It pretty much turned out that way. All the coaches said the pools were pretty fair and competitive, so I’m pleased the way things turned out.”
Pope, the defending Class AAAAA state traditional and dual tournament champions, went 5-0, beating Hillgrove (66-10), Lassiter (55-18), Sprayberry (75-6) and Kell (63-15) to reach the championship final. The Greyhounds then beat Whitewater, which placed third at the Class AAAAA state duals and fifth at the traditional tournament, 60-12 to win the meet.
“I think the level of competition we had here was great,” Slenczka said. “Pope is obviously a very good team and having them here set the bar pretty high. Whitewater is a very talented team from outside the county, so they provided some good competition, too.
“There were a lot of other good teams from the county, like Kennesaw Mountain and Kell, so we were all pretty close in a lot of our matches, and a lot of them came down to the wire.”
Whitewater went 4-1, as did Kennesaw Mountain, which placed third. Sprayberry, which went 3-2, placed fourth after falling to Kennesaw Mountain.
Walton (3-2) recorded a 50-42 win over Hillgrove (1-4) in the fifth-place match. Kell (2-3) beat Wheeler (2-3) to finish seventh, and Lassiter (1-4) topped Campbell (1-4) for ninth.
“We’re a young team, and we don’t have any seniors, so our guys are going to take their lumps,” Slenczka said. “We’re learning. The kids are figuring out how to contribute and keep things close. The middle guys are winning, but not getting pins, so we’re a work in progress when you’re talking about team points. We’ll be better later on in the season when we get the football guys out and they’ve been through the paces.”
Pope’s winning wrestlers in the championship match against Whitewater included Mack Haskin (106 pounds), Josh Tazzetta (113), Walter Yarbrough (120), Sam Skinner (126), Tyler Haskin (132), Jake Adcock (138), T.J. Collins (145), Davis Burson (152), Colton Lombardy (160), Jake Henson (170), Zeke Weber (182) and Chipper Richards (195).
The Haskin brothers, Tazzetta, Yarbrough, Adcock, Burson, Lombardy, Henson and Weber all finished 5-0 at the meet.
“I think all of the kids got some good matches out of (Tuesday),” Slenczka said. “The day went pretty quickly, which is what you want. A lot of coaches like that you can get them out early. It was a good way for guys to get some work in with the holiday coming up.”