From Staff Reports
Union Grove won its fourth straight South Metro Invitational wrestling tournament at McIntosh High School on Saturday, its fifth in the past six years and its first with new head coach Kevin McGonigle.
Locust Grove and Henry County, a pair of Class AAA state title favorites and Area 4-AAA rivals, finished second and third, respectively.
The Wolverines had four individual titlists in Griffin Higginbotham (103), Alex Lazor (135), Jared Vinson (145) and Hunter Gamble (160).
Union Grove had four other wrestlers place in their respective weight classes. Zack Duncan placed fourth at 112 pounds, Gabe Duty was runner-up to Locust Grove's Blake Sorrows at 171 pounds, and Tyler Buhse placed fourth at 215 pounds.
It was Union Grove's first South Metro tournament without former head coach Joey DiNino, who was lost to the school due to staff cuts. DiNino, the current head coach at Ola, built the Wolverines program into one of the state's most consistent contenders since the school opened in 2001.
McGonigle, an assistant coach under DiNino last season, took over, and the Wolverines seemingly haven't missed a beat.
Locust Grove took another step toward declaring its place among the favorites in Class AAA.
The Wildcats had just one wrestler take home an individual title in Blake Sorrows (171), but seven others placed for the second-year program, including several who are being counted on to develop into threats come state tournament time.
Monye Tucker lost to Higginbotham at 103 pounds to finish second; freshman Peter Baus, a middle school All-American last year, finished third at 112 pounds; Steven Craig finished fifth at 125 pounds; Jared Benefield lost Lazor at 135 pounds to finish second; and Chaz Brown finished fifth at 152 pounds.
Locust Grove's talented senior trio had a strong showing, with Blake Sorrows' individual title at 171 pounds, Bryan Sorrow's third-place finish at 160 pounds, and Zack Brown's runner-up finish to Gio Ortiz of Lovejoy at 140 pounds.
Henry County got individual titles from returning state champion Dalvin Tomlinson (285), senior Brett Yarbrough (125) and freshman Telly Sloan (215). The Warhawks had four others place in returning state champ Jake Orozco (135, third), Rodney Mason (145, fourth), Bryan Thomas (160, fourth) and Ryan Thomas (171, sixth).
In DiNino's first South Metro appearance with Ola, the Mustangs had five placers in Peyton Durflinger (119, third), Brent Paul (125, third), Zac Bennett (145, fifth), Jimmy Carman (160, second) and Dylan Moore (171, third).
Lovejoy had four placers, including Gio Ortiz's win over Locust Grove's Zack Brown for the individual title at 140. Michael Whitney (119, sixth), Corey Alexander (152, second) and Kentucky football commitment David Washington (285, third) also placed for Lovejoy.
Luella had three placers in Patrick Gooden (112, sixth), Nolan Brown (160, sixth) and Dylan Thompkins (189, fourth).
Woodland had one individual title in Omar Waller's win over Devante Winslow of Westlake at 189. Jacob Hudgins (145, sixth) also placed for the Wolfpack.
Dutchtown's Caleb Culbreath placed fifth at 215, while Stockbridge's Shakeeno Jenkins placed third at 140.
Of the 13 individual titlists, 10 were from the Southern Crescent.