Forest Park senior Anthony Vasta finished fifth in the Class AAAAA meet on Saturday. He competed in the 113-pound division where he compiled a 43-9 record. (Jeff Hurndon Photography).
JONESBORO — No one was able to celebrate a state title at the recent traditional wrestling tournaments, but that didn’t stop the celebrations.
Of the 11 wrestlers that qualified for the state tournament, three placed in their respective weight class.
Forest Park and Jonesboro took three wrestlers each to their respective tournament.
Jonesboro had two wrestlers — Jalaal Malik and Jermaine Millens — to place fifth overall at the Class AAAA tournament at West Laurens High in Dublin. Malik went 3-2 in the two-day tournament to place fifth in the 126-pound weight class while Millens was 4-2 at the tournament to place fifth at 138.
“I’m proud of the way our guys wrestled,” Jonesboro coach Gene Johnson said. “It was a great way for our guys to end their high school careers.”
As a team, the Cardinals placed 24th out of 70 teams at the tournament.
Forest Park’s lone state placer was senior Anthony Vasta, who finished fifth overall. The senior was 3-2 in the Class AAAAA tournament at Loganville High. For the season, Vasta compiled a 43-9 record.
As a team, the Panthers placed 28th out of 73 teams at the meet.
He placed in every tournament he wrestled in this season for the Panthers, who won the Clayton County Tournament.
“He has come a long way since his freshman season,” Forest Park coach Don Williams said. “He came in and listened and learned. I’m definitely very pleased at the way he has wrestled all year.”
Williams said the recent traditional state tournament has given the team momentum going into the offseason. He said the team will attend three camps this summer in addition to holding a camp for wrestlers in the county and surrounding areas.
“It is a way to give the county some exposure and help build the wrestling programs,” Williams said. “This was a great year for us. We were right there in a lot of the matches at state and could have had some more placers, but that is why you wrestle.”
Williams said he expects junior Blake Kennedy to be a leader in the upcoming season. Kennedy, who wrestled in the 160 division had a 45-11 record on the season.
“He is our leader for the season,” Williams said. “He leads by example, and I know he will get better in the offseason. We are excited about what we are building over here at Forest Park.”
Mundy’s Mill, Morrow and Lovejoy each took wrestlers to their respective tournament, but none of them placed.
Johnson agreed that the place winners will give his younger wrestlers motivation going into next season.
“It shows our underclassmen that if they work hard, they can achieve their goals,” Johnson said. “It was a great season for us, especially for those guys that placed at state.”