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Amicalola Classic begins this weekend
Wrestling pic 3
Tiger Zac Paz tries a new move on one of his teammates. Paz has had an outstanding year so far in the 215-pound weight class. - photo by Photo/Pam Jacobs

One of the most prestigious wrestling tournaments in Georgia will begin this weekend at the Ford E. Phillips Center. The Amicalola Wrestling Classic will be held for the 26th year at Dawson County High School Friday and Saturday, Jan. 2 and Jan 3.


The tournament will be in a traditional wrestling format, pitting wrestlers from each team against each other.


There will be 14 different weight classes, ranging from 103 pounds through to the heavyweights at 285 pounds. The brackets will contain 16 grapplers in a double elimination style.


The tournament was founded by William Howington 26 years ago and is one of the oldest in Georgia. The tournament is full of tradition and this year’s field will be tough.


There will be 16 schools lined up to participate in the classic event.


Gilmer County, winners of the AAA state traditional championship last season, will be favored to win the event. The Bobcats are currently ranked #3 in the Georgia Coaches Poll.


Lumpkin County, ranked #4 in AAA, and Commerce, ranked #2 in A, will also bring strong wrestlers to the mat this weekend.


Gilmer County won the tournament last season. The Bobcats were followed by Lumpkin and Commerce in that order. Dawson finished in 14th place.


Chattooga, St. Francis, Creekview, Sequoyah, Fannin County, North Oconee, White County, North Atlanta, Winder, Pickens County, and possibly Greater Atlanta Christian will round out the event. There is still a possibility of adding more teams.


“Coming off break I think we have a chance of finishing in the top five,” said Dawson County Head Coach Arron Haynes. “We wrestled really well at the Fannin Duals, so I think we will have a chance.”                       


Wrestlers will be seeded according to their win-loss record this season. The top two wrestlers will be placed in opposite brackets so they possibly wouldn’t meet until the finals.


Dawson County has several wrestlers that could win a medal and much needed points for the Tigers. David Wood (112), Joe Perry (135), Nick Tobias (160), Donavan Spittel (189) and Zac Paz (215) have a real chance of placing during the tournament.


Luke Parks (125), Rene Santillan (130), Preston Adams (140), William Ridings (145), Ellijah Faille (152), Isaac Martin (171) and Kenny Housel (275) also have a chance to earn points for the Tigers.


“The Amicalola wouldn’t be able to be pulled off without the help of several people in the community,” said Haynes. “Teachers, students, our booster club, administration, my assistant coaches and parents volunteer their time during the holidays to make this thing happen. They do an outstanding job.”


Action will begin Friday with three matches starting at 3 p.m. The wrestling will begin again on Saturday morning starting at 9 a.m. Finals should begin in the early afternoon.


E-mail Pam Jacobs at