By Zack Huffman
Just when it seemed his high school wrestling was over, it looks like Lovejoy senior Tobias Harris will receive at least one more opportunity to strap on his singlet when he competes in the Senior High School National Tournament.
When Harris returns to the mat next month, he will become the very first wrestler from Clayton County to earn a shot at the tournament.
"I'm very excited," said Lovejoy wrestling coach Kevin Jones.
In order to qualify for the tournament, a wrestler needs to be a state champion, state runner-up or have won at least one USA Wrestling-sanctioned tournament outside of the regular high school season.
Although Harris finished in third place at the GHSA state tournament, he won two USA Wrestling tournaments over the summer.
"He's been facing some of the top wrestlers in Georgia and he's held his own," said Jones. "It's only fitting that he goes to this tournament."
During the state tournament, Harris took a single loss to Taylor Knapp of Collins Hill, who according to Jones, was ranked second in the nation going into the state tournament.
The tournament, which is organized by USA Wrestling will be held from April 3-5 in Virginia Beach, Va. will feature some of the top wrestling talent among high school seniors from all over the United States.
"This is the premier tournament in the nation for high school seniors," said Jones. "All of the coach in NCAA and the NAIA are looking fro kids. There will be kids signing scholarships on the spot."
According to Jones, with 100 wrestlers competing, even those who finish no greater than among the top 30 have a good chance of grabbing the attention of college recruiters.
"This is the cream of the crop. It's just a plethora of great wrestlers," he said. "It's an audition for a wrestling scholarship."
According to Jones, although Harris was happy to receive the honor, it really sunk over the weekend when Harris watched the NCAA National Wrestling Tournament on ESPN.
"I think he's very excited," said Jones about Harris.