Patriots wrestling finishes fourth at area

ATHENS -- Last weekend, the Heritage wrestling team brought home a trophy at area duals for the first time in three years.

Heavyweight Chris Taylor went 4-0 to lead the Patriots to a fourth-place finish at the Area 8-AAAAA Duals at Clarke Central High School.

Three wrestlers went 3-1 for the Patriots: Julian George (145 and 152 pounds), Mitch Clemens (160 and 170) and 220-pounder Daniel Foster.

"It was good for us because we haven't brought home hardware from this tournament ... three years ago was the last time we placed," Heritage coach Randy Hooley said. "And we have a bunch of underclassmen; we're getting a lot of mat time for them. We did forfeit two weight classes, but the kids were able to make up for it."

Heritage opened the tournament with a loss to eventual runner-up Loganville, then in the wrestlebacks picked up wins over Gainesville and Apalachee. In the consolation finals, the Patriots once again fell to Loganville.

"I kind of wish we could've challenged Clarke (for a true third place); maybe we could've beat them and got third. But we're happy," Hooley said.

Salem went 1-2, led by Anthony Lewis, who went 3-0 at 195 pounds. The Seminoles knocked off Cedar Shoals, and lost to eventual third-place finisher Clarke Central and Winder-Barrow. Reggie Hurt (120 pounds) and Matt Lewis-Hardwick (126 and 132 pounds) each went 2-1.

"I knew it was going to be hard for us because we were going to be (forfeiting) at least four weight classes ... we did OK," Seminoles coach Tim Owens said.

At the Area 8-AAAA Duals at Monroe-Area High School, Eastside fell just short of a state berth, finishing third behind Chestatee and Lumpkin County.

For the Eagles, who will be a Class AAAA State Duals alternate, Patrick Cochran, Misha Felton, Kevin Thompson, Tyler Campbell, Mitchell Troutman and Garrett Yates all went unbeaten on the day. Eastside knocked off Lanier in the quarterfinals, then dropped a dual to eventual runner-up Lumpkin County in the semi finals. The Covington school again defeated Lanier for third place.