On the heels of his first county championship, Blake Kennedy of Forest Park is a strong contender for an Area 4-AAAAA championship. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
Wrestlers to keep an eye on
These wrestlers have a good shot at doing well at area matches
Chris Boggs, Jonesboro: Was sixth at the South Metro Tournament, but any injury prevented him for wrestling at county. Has a 27-6 record.
Tavarez Clark, Forest Park: Was runner-up at county meet at 145-pound weight class. Has been a steady performer and won Tara Classic a week ago.
Jessie Cross, Forest Park: Wrestles at 152 and won county title. Has had a good showing at several top tournaments involving some good competition.
Blake Kennedy, Forest Park: He won his first county championship two weeks ago at 160. He has been one of the team leaders for the surging Panthers program.
Orlando Kinsey, Morrow: Won county at the 195 class, but will likely have to go through defending area champion for shot at area title.
Jalaal Malik, Jonesboro: Placed last season at 113 in state meet. Has a 40-5 record this season and won county at 126 earlier this season.
Jermaine Millens, Jonesboro: Won county at 145 weight group, but will compete at 138 at area. Has a 45-6 record against some good competition.
Devonte Nance, Forest Park: Although he lost in the finals of the heavyweight champion at county, he is expected to have good showing at area meet.
Talon Person, Morrow: Being counted on to compete at the heavyweight division at area.
Queryachi Taylor, Lovejoy: One of the most polished wrestlers in the county. Is undefeated and is a two-time county champion at the 182-pound class.
Rydell Tomas, Morrow: Won county at the 138 class. He only has two losses on the season for the Mustangs. Made finals of South Metro Tournament.
Anthony Vasta, Forest Park: Won county at the 113 weight division and has been solid in other tournament appearances.
Zavion Williams, Morrow: Won the county title at the 220 weight division. Is the defending area runner-up, and has a good shot at championship.
JONESBORO — It might not be the ideal conditions going into their area traditional wrestling championships, but coaches aren’t complaining about something that is totally out of their control.
Because of the inclement weather this week, school districts in the metro Atlanta area have been closed, which meant no practice.
Coaches have expressed concern about wrestlers making weight for the area tournaments, which will take place today throughout the metro area.
“The main thing at this point is our guys making weight,” Morrow coach Maso Moon said. “They have the basics of what it takes because we have done this all year. It is a matter who is going to perform and be ready for this moment.”
Forest Park coach Don Williams agreed.
“This is what these kids have been preparing for all season,” Williams said. “It is all about the match-ups at this point. You put them in the bracket and let them go. The cream always raises to the top.”
So far, the Forest Park team has shown it can compete among the elite in the state with strong finishes in the South Metro Tournament. The Panthers placed fourth in the long-running meet earlier this season. That tournament included the majority of the teams Forest Park will face today at the Area 4-AAAAA tournament at McIntosh High in Peachtree City.
The area tournament might be one of the strongest in the state with the likes of Ola, Whitewater, Union Grove and McIntosh competing for supremacy.
“I think we can hang with them,” Williams said. “We have some strong teams in our area. I told my guys to go in there with the mindset of being selfish. I told them to do it for themselves, and the team will most definitely benefit from their success.”
The top four wrestlers in the area tournament advance to the Sectionals with a shot at competing at state on Feb. 13 through 15 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth.
Morrow will not carry a full team to its Area 2-AAAAAA championship today at Alcovy because of a handful of injuries, but Moon said the Mustangs have a good shot of getting several individuals into the Sectionals next week at Lowndes.
“We got some good guys with a 50-50 chance of making it,” Moon said. “The guys just need to be consistent to have a good tournament.”