Forest Park wrestler Tavarez Clark placed fourth at the recent Fayette County Christmas Tournament over the holiday break. (Special Photo)
FOREST PARK — Don Williams is not making any predictions on Saturday’s Area 4-AAAAA Duals Championship, but the Forest Park coach is sure his team will not go down without a fight.
The Panthers enter the nine-team tournament seeded No. 4 in one of the toughest areas in the state. Only the top two teams advance to next weekend’s Class AAAAA duals tournament in Macon.
Whitewater is the top seeded team in the area with Ola next and Union Grove a spot ahead of Forest Park. Williams said that McIntosh is “nipping at his team’s heels” in the area seeding at the fifth spot.
“We are in a really tough area,” Williams said. “I’m not sure how we are going to finish, but I know my guys are going down swinging. We have been wrestling well coming into the area, and we are starting to click on all cylinders.”
Williams was pleased with his team’s eighth-place finish at the 32-team Fayette County Christmas Classic over the holiday break. The tournament featured teams from Georgia and Alabama.
Hewitt-Trussell of Alabama won the two-day tournament with 248 points followed by host Fayette County with 160 points. Southside of Alabama was third followed by Rome. Rounding out the top five was Carrollton and McIntosh placed sixth. Central-Carrollton was seventh with Forest Park amassing 108.5 points.
Placing for the Panthers were Anthony Vasta at fifth in the 113-pound division, Tavarez Clark (145, fourth), Jessie Cross (152, fifth), Blake Kennedy (160, fourth), and Devonte Nance (285, second). Williams said he was missing two wrestlers for the tournament.
“I think the guys gained a lot of confidence in the tournament,” Williams said. “I thought we could have had a couple more placers, but I’m pleased with their effort at the tournament. There was some really great competition. I’m starting to see where the team is jelling and coming together as the area tournaments are starting.”
The traditional area tournament will be next month at McIntosh High. Before the area, Forest Park will host the Clayton County Championships in two weeks. Williams said the team is building towards those two tournaments.
“Fayette County and Henry County have some excellent wrestling programs,” said Williams, who coached in Henry County for 13 seasons. “I see where the Clayton County teams are stepping up to that next level. The teams are becoming very competitive in the county. I know my guys are excited about competing this weekend at the area duals.”