But the coaches, for the most part, seemed optimistic about what’s to come later in the season.
Walton, which has been in rebuilding mode over the last few years after seeing success during the last decade, performed the best of its local rivals, finishing fourth overall. Lassiter and Wheeler each went 1-2 overall.
Etowah upset defending champion Roswell 31-30 in the finals and will head with the Hornets to Macon on Thursday for the state duals.
“I think, as a team, we’ve taken another step forward and saw some improvement,” Walton coach Pete Murphy said. “We had guys that didn’t make the most of their opportunities, and that’s something we need to work on.”
The Raiders came up short against Woodstock in the consolation bracket for a chance to wrestle for true second, losing 46-33. The teams were evenly matched until Walton had to forfeit at 120 and 132 pounds.
Walton was unable to recover from the forfeits, despite getting late pins from Cliff Price (152) and Daniel Rossi (160).
The Raiders were also in a tight battle midway through their match against Etowah in the semifinals of the winners’ bracket before Etowah pulled away late to win 51-22.
A pin by Jacob Murphy (138) cut Etowah’s lead to 30-22 with five matches remaining, but things didn’t go Walton’s way after that. Ryan Laban (145) was the victim of a 6-5 decision, and Mason Kane was pinned by Etowah’s Karl Mason at 5:11 to give the Eagles a comfortable 17-point advantage.
Walton went on to beat Wheeler 52-18 in the consolation round to set up its match against Woodstock.
Lassiter, which fell to Etowah
50-19 in the first round of the main draw, routed Cherokee 66-14 in the consolation before getting eliminated 38-33 by Woodstock.
The Trojans nearly pulled off a fierce comeback after falling behind 22-6.
A.J. Pelletier (132) recorded a second-period pin, followed by a pin by Jake Montalbano (138) with 6 seconds left in the third period. Woody Carter (152) also had a second-period pin, and Marshall Liss (160) won by a decision to stay in it, but Woodstock’s Duncan Morris came through with a pin at 170 to help the Wolverines seal it.
“I thought we wrestled hard,” Lassiter coach Matt Brickley said. “We (forfeited) a weight class (at 126), and that didn’t help us, but I didn’t see any quit.
“We have a lot of returning experience, and a lot of youth, and I feel it’s starting to come together. There are two halves to wrestling, and everything after January 1 is what matters, and we’re in a good spot right now.”
Wheeler, which finished runner-up in the area duals last season, took a hit from graduation, and it showed. The Wildcats fell 37-25 to Woodstock in the opening round, then defeated Milton 51-21 in the consolation before getting eliminated by Walton.
The Wildcats’ match with Walton began with Felipe Silva (195) falling in triple overtime to Jack Shoemaker by one point, due to a technical violation called against Silva.
Things went downhill from there.
Avi Lyons (113) did win a decision over Jack Smith to put Wheeler on the board at 19-3, and the Wildcats took advantage of back-to-back forfeits to get back in it, but Walton won the next four matches to take a 28-point lead.