By R. Alan Richardson
Some coaches and players go a lifetime striving for that ultimate goal. And, some never achieve it. For Coach Carter Shultz and Donovan McElligott that achievement has become reality. Shultz, in only his first year as the man in charge, has a State Champion wrestler under his wing. The senior brought home the State Championship in the 170 pound class at Macon this past weekend. His partner, Finn Williams, came in a close third in the State Finals at 182 pounds. Another senior, Mason Adams, wrestled well. He came up just short of placing at 132 pounds.
Here’s the breakdown from Coach Shultz:
132 – SR Mason Adams was one win away from placement in arguably the toughest weight in AAA (including three returning State Champions, and seven total returning placers). He wrestled extremely well, pinning a returning state placer from Westminster in the first round before falling to a returning state champ from Pierce County in the Quarterfinals. He then avenged a loss from sectionals against Calhoun before eventually ending his tournament against another returning state champ from Ringgold. I can’t say enough how proud I am of him and the way he wrestled. Mason really devoted himself this year and wrestled as well as I’ve ever seen him throughout his career. He was a leader both on and off the mat for our very young team.
170 – SR Donovan McElligott was dominant on his road to the State Title. He majored a returning placer from Ringgold 18-8 in the Quarterfinals. From there he won 6-4 against Pike County in the Semifinals and finished with yet another win over multiple time placer/finalist Mason Corbett from Jefferson, 6-3. He dominated a very good opponent from start to finish and it was really a testament to how well he was wrestling. I knew when I spoke to him before the match there was no doubt. Don had a big smile and peace in his heart. It was only a matter of time before he had his championship. He finished the year with a 48-3 record, with wins over a couple other finalists in different classifications. Donovan really devoted himself to the sport, training year round and knowing exactly what he had to do to achieve his goal of becoming a State Champ. I am extremely grateful for his attitude and work ethic, and I am thankful that I got to coach him. He plans on continuing his academic and athletic career at a Division 1 program in Campbell University.
182 – SR Finn Williams finished third and was within an eyelash of having an opportunity to win a State Championship. In his first round he pinned Cook County in dominant fashion. That match would be the last easy one he saw over the weekend. In the Quarterfinals he avenged two earlier losses vs Jacob Daniell from Monroe Area, winning 6-4 in a barn burner. His Semifinal match was a gut wrencher, where he fell 6-4 in overtime to the eventual State Champ from Lumpkin County. From there he fell to the Conso Semis, defeating a tough kid from Jackson County 6-4 in another overtime match. Finn then ended his career with a 9-8 victory over Lovett to place third. I can’t express how proud I was of his effort. It would’ve been extremely easy to fold up the tent after his Semifinal match and go home with sixth. Instead of hanging his head, Finn gutted out two more tough wins, ending his career on a winning note. The growth that he’s shown over his career is really what the sport is about and I am thankful he was on our team.
Overall I really can’t compliment these three guys enough. All three have been a big part of our lineup their entire careers and to see them go out and lay it on the line their senior year was fun to watch. I got to watch these guys grow and mature over their four years and I am proud of how each of them turned out. The coaches and returning teammates will miss them greatly.
Although there are too many to name I want to say thank you to everyone that made this season successful. We really appreciate the support from the school and community. Go Dogs.