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County wrestlers finally get chance at state meet

Don Williams will have three Forest Park wrestlers compete in this week’s Class AAAAA traditional championships. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Don Williams will have three Forest Park wrestlers compete in this week’s Class AAAAA traditional championships. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

STATE WRESTLERS

Class AAAAAA

at Chattahoochee High

Orlando Kinsey, Morrow, 23-7, 195

Queryachi Taylor, Lovejoy, 38-3, 182

Zavion Williams, Morrow, 36-14, 220

Class AAAAA

at Loganville

Jhante Charles, Mundy’s Mill, 20-12, 220

Tavarez Clark, Forest Park, 39-14, 145

Blake Kennedy, Forest Park, 44-9, 160

Anthony Vasta, Forest Park, 40-7, 113

Class AAAA

at West Laurens

Chris Boggs, Jonesboro, 35-13, 182

Jalaal Malik, Jonesboro, 49-4, 126

Jermaine Millens, Jonesboro, 45-7, 138

JONESBORO — Tavarez Clark is excited about his first trip to the Georgia High School Association traditional wrestling championships.

But the only disappointment is that the senior will not get to wrestle at the Arena at Gwinnett Center as previously planned.

The ice and snow storm that swept through the metro Atlanta area two weeks ago, forced the GHSA to postpone the wrestling championships for a week. Because of that postponement, the Arena was booked, which left the state’s high school governing body to scramble to find on campus sites.

Instead of wrestling in the spacious venue in Duluth, the Class AAAAA tournament will now take place today and Saturday at Loganville High.

But that still hasn’t dampened Clark’s spirit.

“I’m very excited to get the opportunity to wrestle at state,” said Clark, a senior. “It is a little disappointing not to go to the Gwinnett Arena, but getting a chance to make state has been great.”

With wrestlers having missed a week of practice because of school closures, they spent this week getting back in shape.

“You just had to stay focused, and keep your goal in mind,” Forest Park senior Anthony Vasta said. “I’ve had to watch my diet.”

In all, 11 wrestlers from the county have advanced to the state tournament following the Sectionals. Forest Park, Jonesboro and Morrow each have three wrestlers in the state tournament. In addition to Clark and Vasta, Blake Kennedy is the other Forest Park wrestler that has advanced to state. He wrestlers in the 160-pound division.

Jalaal Malik of Jonesboro is the only wrestler from the county that advanced out of Sectionals with a first place finish. Malik, a senior, is 49-4 in the 126-pound division heading into the tournament at West Laurens High in Dublin.

He will be joined at the Class AAAA meet by two other teammates in Jermaine Millens at 138 and Chris Boggs at 182. Millens is 457 and finished third at the Sectionals while Boggs, who is 35-13, placed eighth at Sectionals.

Because the majority of the state experienced inclement weather two weeks ago, area coaches don’t think they will be at a disadvantage this weekend.

“Other than some South Georgia cities, we all had to deal with the weather,” Jonesboro coach Gene Johnson said. “We are all in the same boat.”

Forest Park coach Don Williams agreed.

“It is time for the cream to raise,” Williams said. “I like that the tournament is hosted by high schools. It makes it special for each classifications. I really don’t think anybody has an unfair advantage.”