0

Locust Grove wrestling hopes to keep momentum going

Other duals meets

Area 2-AAAAAA

Where: Newton High School, in Covington

Teams: Alcovy, Druid Hills, Lovejoy, Luella, Morrow, Newton, Rockdale County.

The favorite: Rockdale County.

Other contender: Alcovy.

Area 4-AAAAA

When, where: Saturday, 9 a.m., at Forest Park High School, in Forest Park.

Teams: Creekside, Forest Park, McIntosh, Mundy’s Mill, Northgate, Ola, Starr’s Mill, Union Grove, Whitewater. Drew and Mount Zion are not participating.

The favorite: Whitewater.

Other contenders: Ola, Union Grove.

Area 4-AAAA

When, where: Saturday, 9 a.m., at Woodland High School, in Stockbridge.

Teams: Dutchtown, Eagle’s Landing, Locust Grove, Stockbridge, Woodland, Jonesboro, North Clayton, Riverdale, Spalding, Upson-Lee.

The favorite: Locust Grove.

Other contenders: Eagle’s Landing, Woodland.

Area 3-AAA

Where: Woodward Academy, in College Park.

Teams: Blessed Trinity, Cedar Grove, Cross Keys, Dawson County, Decatur, Fannin County, Henry County, Jackson, McNair, Pike County, St. Pius X, Towers, Woodward Academy

The favorite: Woodward Academy.

Other contenders: Blessed Trinity, McNair.

Area 2-A

Where: Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, in McDonough.

Teams: Brookstone, Challenge Charter, ELCA, First Presbyterian, Georgia Academy of the Blind, Georgia Military Academy, Landmark Christian, Pacelli, Strong Rock Christian.

The favorite: Landmark Christian.

Other contender: ELCA.

LOCUST GROVE — In just four short years, Locust Grove wrestling has already started to build the sort of resume associated with long-established programs.

The Wildcats are 3-for-3 on area traditional and duals titles, a streak they hope to continue this weekend in the Area 4-AAAA duals meet at Woodland on Saturday.

“We definitely don’t want to see the streak end,” Locust Grove coach Nick Fordham said.

This weekend marks the start of wrestling’s postseason tournaments. The top two finishers in area duals meets qualify for the state tournament next weekend in Macon.

A few weeks later, teams will meet in area traditional meets, then sectionals, then the state meet on February 14-16 in Macon.

Fordham offers hints that his Locust Grove team has the potential to make history, noting that the Wildcats have never been deeper throughout all 14 weight classes and might be “the best team we’ve ever had.”

The results back him up. The Wildcats won the South Metro after back-to-back runner-up finishes, but haven’t slowed down. Locust Grove won the Hurricane Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark., this past weekend against teams from Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

Only 12 wrestlers made the trip, but 10 of them placed.

“We looked pretty good out there,” Fordham said. “We just want to use that momentum going into area.”

Numbers have been the biggest source of frustration for Ola.

“We’ve just got to wrestle well to qualify,” Mustangs coach Joey DiNino said. “We’ve struggled to put everybody in the lineup. Kids are either sick, hurt or out of town. We’re hoping to have 14 spots filled this weekend and be competitive.”

The Mustangs are the No. 2 seed behind Whitewater heading into the Area 4-AAAAA duals at Forest Park on Saturday. It’s a familiar scenario; the Mustangs lost to Whitewater in the Area 3-AAAA duals last season.

Only 3.5 points separated the teams at the South Metro tournament with Whitewater beating out the Mustangs for fourth place.

But, not surprisingly, Ola managed a top 5 finish that weekend with just nine wrestlers. The only one who didn’t place was returning state champion Jimmy Carman, who missed the second day of competition to take the ACT.

It’s been the same story all season. Ola had eight wrestlers at a tournament in Loganville and placed seventh, just three points out of a top 5 finish. The Mustangs were in the top 5 at Woodward Academy and in the top 4 at Valdosta this past weekend.

“I definitely feel if we have everybody healthy, we have a chance,” DiNino said.