By R. Alan Richardson
The MOCO wrestling team headed off to Pike County over the weekend to participate in the AAA Sectional A Tournament with six wrestlers qualifying for the competition. Of those, Brandon Grindle and Chance Reid made a good showing and qualified for the State Traditional Tournament to be held at the Macon Coliseum Feb. 13-15.
Coach Carter Shultz said, “We had Kelly Rojas and Reba Hall competing in the girls’ Sectionals while Brandon Grindle, Jeremiah Grimsley, Chance Reid, and Dylan Rivers represented our boys. They all competed well. I’m proud of all of their efforts to make it this far.”
Both Rojas at 106 and Hall at 113 finished fourth in their respective weight classes coming up just short of qualifying for the State Tournament as first-year wrestlers. “I was very proud of how they worked throughout the year. It was fun watching them progress,” said Shultz.
Junior Grimsley also came up just short of qualifying for his first State Tournament in the 195 pound weight class. “I was extremely excited to watch his growth from last year to this year. He worked hard in practice and has continued to get better throughout the year. He will definitely be an anchor in our lineup next year,” commented Shultz.
Freshman Dylan Rivers went into the tournament wrestling at 138. He went 0-2, but Shultz was high on his youngster saying, “The experience he gained from qualifying for Sectionals will pay off big in the long run. I really look for him to be another staple in our lineup next year.”
Grindle wasn’t a surprise to make the State Finals. The 132 pound junior went 4-2 and finished fifth in his weight class. Shultz gave these remarks, “Brandon has done everything we have asked of him this year and I couldn’t be happier for him. He had a great tournament when it really mattered. I was very proud of the way he kept his emotions in check and went out and wrestled consistently. This showed the most in his match for fifth where he avenged one of his earlier losses. I am really looking forward to watching him finish his season this weekend.”
One of the surprises may have come from the performance of Reid. The sophomore heavyweight got what Shultz called a second “Chance”. Last week he finished fifth in the Area Tournament to get an alternate bid for the Sectional Tournament. However, Jefferson’s heavyweight was injured at practice this week, giving the big guy the opportunity to wrestle in the Sectionals. Shultz noted, “He made the most of it, going 3-3 and finishing sixth, qualifying for the State Tournament. Chance is also our discus thrower for the track team, so he had one practice Friday morning before putting it all on the line. I can’t say enough about his mental toughness to go out and accomplish the goal of qualifying. I look forward to seeing him wrestle in Macon this weekend.”
Wrestling at the State Tournament will begin Thursday morning Feb. 13 for the AAA State Championship. Good luck to Chance, Brandon, and all the coaches. Go DAWGS!