COVINGTON - The Alcovy wrestling team didn't win state, didn't win an area title and didn't have any state champions.
Still, the Tigers had a good season this winter with a third-place finish in the Area 8-AAAA team duals and a top-20 finish in the Class AAAA traditional championship.
"To be a second-year program, I'm extremely pleased finishing where we did," Alcovy coach Mike Mostek said. "We did better than most people expected so far. I'm excited and hope we can keep improving and getting better from year to year.
"Coming in. I never would have expected it. I didn't know what to expect, this is my first time starting a program."
The Tigers finished the season with an impressive 29-4 record, losing twice to Class AAAA state traditional champion Eastside and once to Hardaway and once to Dacula in the area duals.
The one-point loss to Dacula hurt because it prevented Alcovy from achieving the goal of going to the Class AAAA team duals meet.
"We finished third at team duals, we missed it by one point. My kids work hard and do what I ask, they really surprised me," Mostek said.
Adam Pollard, Corey Reid, Trey Twiford, Travis Knight and Malachi Outlaw all played key roles in the Tigers' successful campaign.
Pollard, a 130-pounder, was an area champion and finished third at state, while Reid, at 140, was an area runner-up and was one match away from placing in state.
However, Outlaw had to be the biggest surprise of all.
In only his third year on the mat, Outlaw was able to finish the season as state runner-up in the 160-pound weight division.
"We normally get him in December until mid-February, then he's back in football. To be able to do that makes him an awesome athlete. He's a rare breed when it comes to talent," Mostek said. "I think he could wrestle at the next level, but I don't know if that's what he wants. If he would really commit to it and wrestle year-round like most of these wrestlers, there's not telling how good he could get."
Also helping Alcovy finish 16th in the traditional state tournament was freshman Jon Seymore. The young 103-pound grappler won three matches at state and was two away from placing.
"Overall I think we got better, we improved and that's all I can ask for - to try to get better and improve every year," Mostek said.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.