Jonesboro coach Gene Johnson will lead a young team into this weekend’s county duals tournament. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
JONESBORO — Who has the best wrestling team in Clayton County?
That question will likely be answered this weekend at the second annual Clayton County Duals, which will be hosted by Mundy’s Mill High.
Morrow is the defending champion, but several teams will be in the running for the championship, which started Friday evening. The two-day tournament will resume on Saturday morning.
“I really feel great about our team this season,” Forest Park coach Don Williams said. “We got just about everybody back from last season.”
In its second year, Williams said they have expanded the format for the tournament. The county teams will be divided into pool play.
“I think the tournament is a lot more organized this year,” Williams said. “It will be ran similar to area dual matches. We wanted this tournament to make us more competitive with teams in Henry and Fayette counties and other good wrestling areas. We are trying to hone our wrestlers skills so they can compete when we go off to the area and state tournament.”
The traditional county tournament will be held next month.
Williams said that 12 of his 14 wrestlers are back from a year ago. The Panthers figure to be in the hunt for the championship.
Jonesboro is the opposite of the Panthers with several young wrestlers playing an important part of the team. Gone from last season’s team is twin brothers - Calvin and Scott Coleman. They now wrestle at Darton State College in Albany.
Last season, Calvin Coleman starred for the Cardinals, compiling a 62-8 record and finishing third in Class AAAA’s 120-pound division. He also added region and sectionals crowns to his resume in addition to being named the Clayton News Daily wrestler of the year.
His brother, Scott, wasn’t too shabby either, finishing runner-up in the area championships and finishing third in sectionals to qualify for the state tournament.
“We are getting a lot tougher with each match,” Jonesboro senior Jalaal Malik said. “The younger guys are catching on to what we are trying to do.”
Junior Lucas Rice agreed.
“We got a lot of new people on the team,” Lucas said. “I think we will be OK. All these tournaments are giving us some good experience.”