Forest Park coach Don Williams says if his wrestlers have gained confidence throughout the season by competing against some top competition. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
This is the tournament that area wrestlers have prepared for all season.
Area tournaments will be held on Saturday with the top wrestlers advancing to their respective Sectional meets with the opportunity to qualify for state.
“We are definitely excited with the area tournament coming up now,” Forest Park coach Don Williams said. “We are in a tough area, but I believe we will have some kids to come through.”
The last three days, teams have not been able to practice because of inclement weather that forced schools in the county to close. Because the state was placed under a state of emergency because of hazardous driving conditions, many wrestlers were not able to get any practice time in.
“We had a good workout on Monday,” Williams said. “We gave them a workout plan once we found out school would be cancelled. We are just hoping that they have kept their weight down, and stayed active as much as possible these last few days.”
Morrow coach Maso Moon agreed.
“The main thing at this point is making weight,” Moon said. “They have the base work as far as what we want them to do. It is a matter of who is going to perform and be ready this weekend. We just need them to be consistent and they should have a good tournament.”
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the Sectionals, and from there the top four move on to the state meet on Feb. 13-15 at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth.
“We have a few wrestlers that will do well,” Jonesboro coach Gene Johnson said. “I’m sure we might have a few surprises.”
Forest Park has been the top team in the county this season after taking both the county duals and traditional championships.
In its last wrestling match before the storm hit the metro area, Forest Park won the 11-team Tara Classic, which included several teams from the area. Lanier finished second with Newnan taking third and Morrow finishing fourth. Jonesboro was sixth and Drew placed 11th in the one day meet.
“It was a good tune-up for the area meet,” Williams said. “I’ve been proud of the way our team has wrestled this year, and I think we have some wrestlers that can do well at area and state.”
The Panthers placed fourth at the prestigious South Metro Classic, one of the oldest wrestling tournaments in the nation. Forest Park will face some stiff competition in an area meet that includes Ola, Union Grove, Whitewater and McIntosh.
Williams said his team has gained valuable confidence in facing those teams throughout the year.
“I think we are on the right path,” said Williams, who has won state championships at Stockbridge and Eagle’s Landing high schools. “The reason we wrestle in those big tournaments is to give our guys some experience. I think they are wrestling with a lot of confidence.”