COVINGTON - Newton's wrestling team made it out of the Area 2-AAAAA traditional tournament Saturday at Union Grove High School in good shape, advancing 10 wrestlers, including five area runners-up, to the Class AAAAA East State Sectional.
The sectional will be held Friday and Saturday at Camden County High School.
"The most important thing is to get the kids advanced. To have 10 go on is a pretty good accomplishment," Newton coach Wes Cooper said. "Obviously, the higher you finish the better you're set up at sectional because the No. 1 (seed) wrestles the No. 4 and the No. 2 wrestles the No. 3."
All five area runners-up lost to wrestlers from Union Grove, who won the Area 2-AAAAA Traditional Championship with 261 team points, followed by Newton with 141.5 points. Redan finished third with 122.5 points.
"We were happy to be in second, I felt like we were the second-best team going in," Cooper said. "Last year, we were in second but it came down to criteria with a tiebreaker with Redan. This year there was no doubt. We finished second with about 20 points between us and Redan."
Coming in second in the area for the Rams were Ryan Mitchell (112 pounds), Corey Ware (119), Aaron Reynolds (135), Joe Domizio (140) and Michael Morgan (285).
"I wish we could've had some area champs, but we lost a close match at 112 and we didn't wrestle at 135. Domizio was in a close match at 140," Cooper said. "We were down 2-0 in the third and made a mistake and ended up getting beat there.
"Ryan Mitchell at 112 had a close match in the finals against (Tyson) Krantz of Union Grove. A break here or there and that match could've gone our way."
With Reynolds already securing a spot in the sectional, Cooper did not want to risk further injury to Reynolds, which could have prevented him from advancing to the state tournament.
Finishing in third place for the Rams were Carl Collins (125), Matthew Hodges (145) and Hosea Hines (189).
"They wrestled well. Hosea got beat by one point in the semifinals in a match that could've gone either way," Cooper said. "The kid that ended up winning it (Union Grove's Zach Butts) we beat twice. The one, two and three at 189 in our region are pretty close."
Newton's fourth-place finishers were Richard Jones (103) and Brandon Lawson (171).
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: Sectional Qualifiers
Ryan Mitchell, 112 pounds
Corey Ware, 119 pounds
Aaron Reynolds, 135 pounds
Joe Domizio, 140 pounds
Michael Morgan, 285 pounds
Carl Collins, 125 pounds
Matthew Hodges, 145 pounds
Hosea Hines, 198 pounds
Richard Jones, 103 pounds
Brandon Lawson, 171 pounds