CONYERS - Heritage rumbled its way to first place Friday morning at home during the Patriot Rumble Duals.
"This was a big deal," Heritage coach Randy Hooley said. "The thing that impressed me the most was the willingness to dig down deeper. We actually wrestled a second team, and they actually beat one of the varsity teams today, so the future from that looks bright."
Those falling to Heritage on the mat were Stockbridge (77-3) and Morrow (66-17), who finished second.
Even more impressive, the Heritage title comes despite having a young squad, including freshman starters.
"Considering I have a mixed lineup, it looks good just as long as we can keep the kids focused," Hooley said.
The event was the beginning of a two-day tournament.
Although more teams were expected to compete Friday, two could not make it until later due to the Thanksgiving holidays; therefore, they will visit Heritage today during the Patriot Rumble Traditional, which begins at 9 a.m.
Led by a strong senior class that includes Cody Shubert (4-0, 119 pounds) Steven Crawley (6-0, 125), Michael Alfano (6-0, 152), Austin Heath (6-0, 140) and David Plunkett (5-1, 160), the Patriots have won six dual meets in the first two weeks of the season.
Heritage's other undefeated wrestlers include Austin Boozer (2-0, 103) and Billy Abrahamsen (6-0, 122).
Rounding out the squad are Joel Maldonado (5-1, 103), Zach Walker (5-1, 130), Erik Lauritsen (5-1, 135), Abe Williams (5-1, 189) and Dalton Heath (5-1, HWT).
"I am very proud of how the team is working," Hooley said. "The upperclassmen on this team are very helpful to the younger wrestlers. They are not afraid to encourage them when they are down about losing a match.
"They are acting as a family unit," he added. "I told them last year the difference of them being a good team and a great team was how the team supported each other. This group has really taken this to heart."
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.