win a coveted
second-straight South Metro tournament title

By Doug Gorman


Union Grove High School didn't just win the South Metro Wrestling Tournament Saturday afternoon, they dominated.

The Wolverines had the event already sewn up heading into Saturday night's final round, and by the time the last matches had been staged, head coach Joey DiNino's club tallied 312.50 points.

The next closest opponent was Eastside, which finished in second with 185 points.

Union Grove came away with the South Metro team title for the second year in a row.

The Wolverines are ranked third in the most recent gasports.com Class AAAAA coaches' poll and they showed why with one of the strongest showings at the South Metro in recent years.

"This is our first really big meet of the season," DiNino said. "We decided to kind of wait until after Thanksgiving to get on the mats because we were always missing a few guys due to travel, so we only had two dual meets prior to this weekend, but the guys are pretty psyched up about repeating. I think they felt we could have a dominating performance."

It was a good weekend for several teams from Henry and Clayton County. Ola, which is just in its second year of competition, was fourth with 154 points. Henry County was fifth with 146, defending Class AAAA state champion Stockbridge was sixth with 133 points .

Lovejoy was had the best finish of any Clayton team with 112.5 points and as ninth-place finish.

Mundy's Mill finished 14th with 89 points, Jonesboro was 17th with 71 points, North Clayton was 18th with 69.5 points, Eagle's Landing was tied for 23rd with 45 points and Woodand was 25th with 44.5

Luella was 26th with 39. Riverdale was 28th with 24 points, Forest Park was 29 with 17 points and Mt. Zion was 30th with 16 points.

The Wolverines rolled to their tournament title with five indiviudal wrestlers winning crowns, and eight athletes advancing to the finals.

Joey Lazor, the Wolverines' 130-pounder, was named the event's most outstanding wrestler in the for the lower weight classes.

"We had big motivation going into the tournament because last year we won this," Lazor said. "We have a lot of heart, we prepared for it and we came out and accomplished what we wanted to do."

Union Grove also picked up individual crowns from Justin Crozier (125), Jacob Vinson (140), Tyler Floyd (145) and Tyler Banks (160).

Henry County picked up victories from Jordan Turpin (112) and Evan Warrington (119).

Warrington's match with Eastside's Joel Stafford went down to the wire and was voted by meet coaches as the best of the tournament.

Stockbridge High School picked up victories from Jonathan Pierce (135) and Randy Salmon (285). Salmon had to go into overtime in the finals to beat Union Grove's Wesley Mena.

Mena was also award the fastest pin of the event for a match earlier in the tournament.

The Wolverines' dominating performance was helped by Jack Roberts, (171) and Stephen Bodiford, (189), each who finished second.

Union Grove doesn't get a chance to celebrate its victory f too long. Tuesday night it wrestles against Eastside in a dual meet. Eastside is ranked No. 1 in the Class AAAA poll.

"We are just trying to stay healthy, and if we can do that, I think we can make a legitatimate run at the state tournament," DiNino said.

Next weekend should be busy for many area wrestling teams too as Stockbridge High School plays host to the annual Tiger Invitational."