By Tia Lynn Lecorchick Managing Editor
The MCHS Wrestling team placed higher than any other AAA team during the Takedown Sportswear Invitational held at Archer High School last week. The team placed 18 of 39 competing teams. The Senior Team Captain, Nathan Lundy, made it to the top six, placing fifth for a medal. “We placed higher than any other AAA team attending the event, but fell short of our goal of top 10,” said Robbins. “This was a great preview for our State tournament in February. In fact, this tourney was much tougher than our AAA Finals will be in the Macon Coliseum. It does our team a world of good to wrestle on such a big stage, as it helps them mentally become accustomed to the big matches that are ahead.” According to Coach John Robbins, the tournament featured 39 teams from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. There were also a few national ranked teams, and several nationally ranked wrestlers. Some weight classes featured as many as six returning state champions. Robbins was particularly proud of Lundy’s accomplishments. “We had several wrestlers that went deep into the tournament, but only one to medal in the top six.…[Lundy] won his first three bouts… before losing to the No. 1 seed from Creekview in the championship semi’s,” explained Robbins. From there, he dropped to the consolation semi’s, where he lost a tough bout to Archer. Nathan last match for 5th/6th place was a victory over Oak Mountain of Alabama. Nathan now stands at 29-6 overall, and is ranked in the top 10 for our classification.” Other standout wrestlers included Jody McAlister, who now stands at 29-4 overall and is ranked in the top 10 in AAA; Jeremy Worth, who now stands at 29-4 overall and is ranked in the top 10 for AAA; and Luke Mitchell, who is now 18-16 overall. According to Robbins, McAlister, at 138 lbs., was unseeded and advanced to the quarters with two major decisions (8-0 over Flowery Branch and 16-6 over the No.7 seed from West Forsyth)…He lost 18-8 to a twice state champion from Thompson of Alabama. He then dropped to the consolations where he dropped a very close match to Bremen to be eliminated. Jody Worth, at 160 lbs., was seeded fourth and advanced to the quarters with two pins (Cherokee and Oak Mountain of Alabama) before losing a 1-0 decision to Elbert County. “In the consolation bracket he advanced to the quarters with a win over Social Circle before losing a nail-biter to South Forsyth, finishing in the top eight,” said Robbins. Mitchell, at 145 lbs., went 3-2 on the event with wins over Union Grove, Villa Rica, and Auburn. The MCHS Wrestling team is headed to Area Dual at Oconee this Saturday, January 10 to compete for a chance in the state duals. “The top two teams will advance to Macon the next weekend for the state Duals. Although we have brought home a trophy for the last three years from the state duals, including a close loss in last year’s state semi-final, the task of qualifying is much tougher this season,” said Robbins. “We have a younger team and a much tougher area, which includes wrestling powerhouse Jefferson, and programs like Oconee, Jackson, and Elbert, who are all used to finishing in the top five like we are. According to Robbins, Jefferson is MCHS’s biggest competition. “Our home dual versus Oconee [on Tuesday, January, 7] at 5 p.m. will be huge, as the loser will likely have to face Jefferson in this weekend’s semifinals for a chance to advance to the finals. Jefferson has won like 16 straight state championships,” noted Robbins. Although the competition is tough this season, Robbins is hopeful the MCHS team will advance and beat their personal bests.