By Nick Nunn staff writer
After tough competition during the day-long AAA Eastern Sectionals that took place last Saturday, Feb. 8, three Morgan County Mat Dogs wrestlers – Jacob McAlister, Jeremy Worth, and Zack Jenkins – secured a spot in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) State Finals bracket.
McAlister, Worth, and Jenkins will compete against the remaining AAA competitors this Friday, Feb. 14, at the Arena at Gwinnett with AAA quarterfinal matches beginning at 1 p.m.
MCHS Head Wrestling Coach John Robbins expressed his satisfaction with each of the 11 Morgan County wrestlers competing in the sectionals.
“The first thing I will say is that our kids battled and fought every second we were on the mat,” said Robbins.
“As a coach, that’s all I can ask for. I continue to be impressed and surprised by these young men and their will to win.”
Senior Jacob McAlister (126 lb.), Morgan County’s sole returning state medalist, took third in what Coach Robbins described as “a really stacked weight class.”
“Jacob is getting himself back into a groove at just the right time,” said Robbins.
Jeremy Worth’s (170 lb.) fourth-place finish earned him his first spot in the State Finals after going 2-2 at the sectionals.
“Jeremy’s path was as tough as anyone’s, and his mental approach and toughness led him through,” said Robbins.
“His drive and determination are second to none, and that gives him an opportunity to do really well this weekend.”
According to Robbins, senior Zack Jenkins is in a good position to become Morgan County’s first heavyweight state medalist since 2007, following his fourth-place finish at the Eastern Sectionals.
Five additional Morgan County wrestlers earned fifth-place finishes, finding themselves “on the outside by the narrowest of margins,” stated Robbins.
Earning the fifth spot in their weight classes gives Nathan Lundy (106 lb.), Jody McAlister (132 lb.), Luke Mitchell (145 lb.), Dmonta Wright (152 lb.), and Wyatt Martin (160 lb.) all a chance to wrestle as alternates in the state finals this weekend if conflict or injury prevents one of the top four from wrestling.
Sean McElligott (120 lb.), Antonio Robinson (138 lb.), and Colin Efird (182 lb.) “left it all on the mat” last Saturday, said Coach Robbins, but, unfortunately, they did not place in their weight brackets.
Regardless of their positions, Coach Robbins looks at facing sectional-level competition as a means of each wrestler rising to a new level of experience.
“Without a doubt… it also makes you a better wrestler overall for having to compete at a higher level,” said Robbins.
Eight of Morgan County’s 11 wrestlers, who competed at the sectionals this weekend, are juniors or underclassmen that will be able to draw on their experiences again next season.
For more information on this weekend’s State Finals, including a complete schedule, visit the GHSA’s website at www.ghsa.net