By R. Alan Richardson sports editor
Team to host sectionals this weekend The Mat Dogs went into the Area Traditional this past weekend with high hopes of taking away an area championship but finished third behind Jefferson and Jackson County. Jefferson ran away from the field with 278 points. Jackson edged out Morgan by one point 178 to 177 to take second. Morgan will host the sectionals this coming Saturday. The Dogs finished with 11 of 13 qualifiers (2nd only to Jefferson), meaning they placed in the top 4 (5th place is an alternate for the state sectionals). From here, the top four from 8-AAA will be matched up with the top four qualifiers from 1-AAA, 3-AAA, and 7-AAA to form a 16 man AAA Eastern State Sectionals bracket. 2-AAA, 4-AAA, 5-AAA, and 6-AAA will all compete in the Western State Sectionals. The top eight placers from the weekends two state sectional tournaments will then move on to the state finals at the Gwinnett Arena next Thursday-Saturday. Jody McAlister was the lone Morgan Area champion, claiming his second career Area title with a 7-0 decision over Jefferson.
Jody was an area runner-up last season, and an area champion as a freshman. Jody’s record now stands at 41-7.
Seniors Luke Mitchell (38-7) and D’monta Wright (38-7) also made it to the finals. Mitchell dropped a tough 3-2 loss to a returning state runner-up, and now has qualified for post season action for three years in a row. Wright was edged out by a defending state champ from Jefferson, ultimately earning himself his third trip to the post season.
Freshman 106 pounder Mason Adams, had an unbelievable tournament, finishing second in his first year of high school competition after knocking off Oconee in the semi-finals.
Third place finishers included Garner Drummond, Mason Woodham, Antonio Robinson (38-9), and Matthew Callaway. Fourth place medalists were Kevin Berisko (now a two time state qualifier as a sophomore), Donovan McElligott, and Ladarrius Andrews (two time state qualifier).
Coach John Robbins said, “This part of the season is always exciting. We have several wrestlers who could get hot and beat anyone in the state. Our region is by far the toughest in AAA, and there have been plenty of third and fourth place finishers from 8-AAA who found themselves as state champs or runner-ups two weeks later.”
Thanks to Coach Robbins for most of this information!