By R. Alan Richardson
It was another great weekend of wrestling for the Morgan County High School Mat Dogs as they hosted their annual Christmas Classic. Sixteen teams came to Madison to compete in the event that drew great crowds and teams from around the state. The squad made a strong showing finishing fifth against some of the best competition that were drawn and invited to the event. Donovan McElligott and Finn Williams again paced the Dogs by finishing first and second respectively in their weight classes. McElligott wrestled at 182 while Williams was the runner up at 195.
Coach Carter Shultz commented on the weekend action, “First off, I want to thank the Takedown Club for their contributions and assistant coaches Tim LeClair and Sam Simmons for picking up my slack when I was busy with tournament administration tasks. While it is a great opportunity to raise much-needed funds for our program, hosting your own tournament can be tough sometimes. We run a high quality tournament, and it’s not possible to do that unless you have a great support staff. Everyone did a great job of making it happen and I am very thankful for all of the contributors.”
According to Shultz, the team is progressing and getting better with each outing. He said, “I thought this was our best performance so far. We are steadily getting better as the season progresses, and that’s great to see.” McElligott advanced to the finals by beating a 2018 AA State Runner up and a 2017 AA fourth place State finisher from Elbert County 3-2 in the finals. Williams fell 11-4 in the finals to a multiple time AA State Champion from Vidalia. Senior Mason Adams turned in a solid performance finishing fifth in what Shultz called, “A loaded 132 pound weight class.” Sophomore Griffin McAlister finished fourth in another tough 120 pound class while Trevor Craft place sixth at 152. “I look forward to watching these guys and our team as a whole continue to progress as the season moves forward.”
McElligott commented on his tournament saying, “I had some tough matches but ended up pinning them all up to the finals. The guy I faced from Elbert in the finals was a good wrestler that I beat by one. We didn’t do too well as a team last year, but I finished second at State. Our prospects for this year are looking good. My wrestling partner, Finn, and I hope we can win it all, but Mason and Griffin are both really strong contenders as well. Coach Shultz is working us hard and is a great guy. He’s a good coach.”
Williams, a three-sport standout as a football kicker, soccer player, and wrestler said, “I finished second, but lost by a good bit to a State Champion so I feel pretty good about how I wrestled.” The senior told us that he pinned his first two opponents in the first round and the third he pinned in the second going into the finals. “Last year I finished sixth at State. I hope the team can make it to the State Duals and be a AAA State Champion myself.” The senior, who has been wrestling since the seventh grade talked about the transition in coaches he has been through. “The transition has been smooth the past two seasons. Coach Sidwell last year and this year with Coach Carter has been good. It’s always been somebody that we know and has been here as an assistant coach, wrestled here and knows what’s going on with the program.”
The previous weekend saw MOCO travel to the King of the Mountain Tournament. Shultz said, “It has been a good tournament for us the last couple of years. The competition this year was tougher than in years past with some really good teams and wrestlers there.” The varsity competed both Friday and Saturday while the JV got some work in on Saturday.
According to Shultz, the varsity had a good tournament. “Donovan finished first at 182 beating a 2018 state placer from Pickens County 4-3 in the finals. Finn was runner up at 195 falling 6-5 to a state runner up from Banks County. On Saturday all of our JV guys had an opportunity to get a couple good matches in. Chance Reid and Ethan Fossum both had good days.”
The team will next head to Oglethorpe County for a dual that was completed earlier this week, and will be participating in the always tough War Eagle Classic at Woodward Academy this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 14 and 15). See all the results and highlights in next week’s issue of the Morgan County Citizen.