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MAHONE: Weather puts freeze on GHSA events

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In the end, Mother Nature always wins.

The sleet, snow and ice that moved into the metro Atlanta are at this week has disrupted the Georgia High School Association traditional wrestling tournament and various region tournaments throughout the area.

While most were enjoying their break from school and work, GHSA and region tournament officials have been scrambling to find alternative ways of returning order to their tournaments.

With many wrestlers having missed about a week of practice, the GHSA decided to push the wrestling tournament back to Feb. 21 to 22 to allow participants a team to refine their skills and make weight. It will also give the officials a chance to find new tournament sites.

Because of scheduling, the Arena at Gwinnett Center is booked. The alternative is for the wrestling tournament to be divided sending each classification to have separate tournaments.

Individual schools will now host tournaments.

Before bringing all the classifications together at one site, wrestling championships were held on high school campuses in prior seasons.

“I sort of like each individual classification having its own tournament,” Forest Park coach Don Williams said. “It makes it a little special.”

Williams has won three state titles — two traditional and a dual — during his tenures at Stockbridge and Eagle’s Landing.

Regardless of where the tournaments will be held, the wrestlers say they are ready for the competition. Unable to practice because of school closings, wrestlers say they are trying to maintain their weight the best way they can.

“I’m really excited about the tournament, and I was really ready for it to begin this weekend,” Forest Park junior Blake Kennedy said. “It is a little disappointing that we haven’t been able to get it in yet. I think the extra week of practice will help.”

As far as the region basketball tournaments, the GHSA has given regions enough time to get all their games in by pushing back the start of the state tournament.

A first plan had called for teams to be able to play two games in one day as long as a four-hour rest period was built in. Some regions had considered eliminating earlier rounds to meet a previous Feb. 17 deadline.

That won’t be the case now, as full region schedules will be played out.

“We are sort of all in the same boat,” Jonesboro wrestling coach Gene Johnson said. “I don’t think anybody has an unfair advantage over the other because of the weather. Some teams in South Georgia were able to get in their regular schedule, but I don’t think we are that far behind.”

Only time will tell, but at least a full schedule of games and matches will take place.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com. On Twitter? @DerrickMahone_