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Special to the Citizen

Morgan County High School junior Jody McAlister was crowned as this year’s state wrestling champion last week. “McAlister stole the show in the finals by repeating last week’s sectionals victory over Chris McCrackin of Banks County and consequently spoiling his chance to become Georgia’s 33rd all-time 4 time state champion,” said Coach John Robbins. “The first meeting took place back in December in a dual at Banks County, where McCrackin won by decision 7-4. The second match was last weekend’s sectional semi-final where Jody claimed a 3-2 victory with a ride-out in the 4th overtime period (ultimate tiebreaker).”

According to Robbins, in the finals last Saturday, Jody jumped out to an early lead by getting the first takedown and riding McCrackin out to end the first period at 2-0. “We won the toss and deferred our choice until the third, leaving McCrackin to chose bottom to start the second. He scored a late reversal and was very close to scoring near-fall as the second period ended. Tied up 2-2, we chose neutral to start the third, and Jody blew through him with blast double right after the whistle. That double was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jody rode him out for just under 2 minutes to claim his first title,” said Robbins, who noted last year, McAlister placed fifth last year as a sophomore. Robbins is already anticipating the dynamics of next year’s season. “Next year’s reclassification will get us away from Jefferson, but will bring a new set of foes our way. We will return 9 out of 14 starters, not to mention adding a very good 8th grade class,” said Robbins. The state tournament as a whole had its ups and downs for the Morgan County High School Wrestling team.

“The state tournament was a roller-coaster ride as always, with fairy tale endings and heart-breakers waiting for us in every round. Our guys wrestled really well. We put 7 in the quarters (2nd only to Jefferson​), which got us off to a great start in the team race. We narrowly missed having 7 placers/medalists, as sophomores Berisko & Drummond both dropped nail-biters to miss placing by just one match,” explained Robbins. “The 5 placers however, have been our driving force all season. Murderer’s Row didn’t take the weekend off, as these guys continued to show the state that they could roll through anyone. This is the 1st time since 2003 that we have put 3 wrestlers in the finals, and McAlister’s win is our first champ since Bailey Ross won the 220 lbs. title in 2013 (we’ve had 6 state champions in the last 6 years).”

“Seniors Mitchell, Woodham, & Wright will be irreplaceable. 1st-6th place at 145 was probably as close as any weight in the tournament, and it was a great feat for Luke to bring home his 2nd state placement. Woodham went out with a bang surprising everyone who wasn’t from Morgan County. He was a big time bracket buster by cruising to the semi’s and pinning his way to 3rd place only a week after taking 6th in the sectionals. Wright’s presence was huge (and sorely missed last year), as he too dominated his way to the finals before losing to a nationally ranked opponent,” said Robbins.”Robinson wasn’t tested until the state semi-finals, where he passed with flying colors to reach the finals as a junior. With 1 minute left in the 3rd he was down 5-3, but lost the scramble for the last takedown to lose 7-4. He will be an immediate favorite at whatever weight he wrestles next year as a senior.”

Results from the State Championships: 106 Mason Adams (23-21 final record) Rd of 16: loser by tech fall to Ringgold Cons. Rd 1: winner by decision over Elbert 6-2 Cons. Rd 2: loser by fall to Dawson Co. 120 Kevin Berisko (26-23) Rd of 16: winner by decision over Decatur 9-7 Qtr’s: loser by decision to Westminister 0-2 Cons. Rd 2: winner by 12-5 decision over Rutland Cons. Qtr’s: loser by 4-0 decision to Calhoun ​132 Garner Drummond (35-14) Rd of 16: winner by 10-3 decision over Rutland Qtr’s: loser by fall to Jefferson Cons Rd 2: winner by fall over Islands Cons. Qtr’s: loser by 6-2 decision to Ringgold 138 Jody McAlister (49-7 / STATE CHAMPION) Rd of 16: winner by 12-2 major decision over Cohulla Creek Qtr’s: winner by 8-2 decision over Jefferson Semi’s: winner by 14-2 major decision over Spencer Finals: winner by 4-2 decision over Banks Co. (senior 3 x defending state champion) 145 Luke Mitchell (45-10 / 5th PLACE) Rd of 16: winner by 9-0 decision over Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe Qtr’s: loser by 3-1 decision to Jackson Co. Cons 2nd Rd: winner by fall over Oconee Cons. Qtr’s: winne rby fall over Blessed Trinity Cons. Semi’s: loser by 10-6 decision to Franklin Co. 5th/6th place match: winner by 7-6 decision over Glenn Hills 152 Mason Woodham (31-15 / 3rd PLACE) Rd of 16: winner by 14-6 major decision over Cohulla Creek Qtr’s: winner by 8-2 decision over Spencer Semi’s: loser by 13-0 major decision to Elbert Cons. Semi’s: winner by 11-0 major decision over Pierce Co. Cons.

Finals (3rd/4th place match): winner by fall over Dodge Co. 160 ​Antonio Robinson (44-11 / STATE RUNNER-UP) Rd of 16: winner by 10-1 major decision over a returning state runner-up from Sonoraville Qtr’s: winner by 11-2 major decision over Toombs Co. Semi’s: winner by 7-5 decision over Banks Co. Finals: loser by 7-4 decision to Oconee 182 Dmonta Wright (44-9 / STATE RUNNER-UP) Rd of 16: winner by fall over Pepperell Qtr’s: winner by 8-5 decision over Banks Co. Semi’s: winner by fall over Rockmart Finals: lost to a defending state champion from Jefferson 195 Ladarrius Andrews (31-23) Rd of 16: loser by fall to Calhoun Cons. Rd 1: loser by fall to Pierce Co. FINAL TEAM SCORES: AAA 1. Jefferson  273.0 2. Ringgold  119.0 3. Morgan Co 107.0 4. Banks County 84.0 5. Rockmart 72.0 6. Oconee Co 70.0 7. Sonoraville 67.5 8. Elbert Co  62.0 9. Jackson Co 58.0 10. Calhoun 55.0

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