With wrestling season opening on Nov. 15 at the Dunwoody Duals, veteran head wrestling coach Arron Haynes recently discussed the upcoming season.
Coach Haynes is entering his 12th season at Dawson County High School as the head coach and brings some impressive credentials to the table.
Coach Haynes has a career record of 263-155-2. He was named the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) assistant coach of the year in 2003. In 2003 the Tigers were dual champions and traditional state runners-up.
In 2004, Haynes was GACA State Coach-of-the-Year, GACA Region Coach-of-the-Year, and Georgia Wrestling Coach-of-the-Year. His team captured the State dual championship and the State traditional championship. The team was also dual and traditional region champions.
In 2013 the Tigers were Area traditional runners-up and in 2014 the team was Area traditional champions.
What are your expectations for this year's team?
Right now we are very young, but eager to get to competition. We will probably take some lumps over the first half of the season, but we hope to be a contender again by the time region and state roll around.
Who do you expect to be your top wrestlers? What do you expect from each wrestler?
Returning state qualifiers from last season are seniors Gavin Brown, state champion, Brett Whalen, Justin Evans and Quade Buytendorp, state sectionals; Harrison Adams a junior, and sophomores Jeremy Whalen, state sectionals, and Josh Poe, state sectionals.
We expect them all to return to state and take their teammates with them.
Who are your team leaders?
Gavin Brown was voted in by the team as captain in the spring. Another will be named next week.
How many wrestlers do you anticipate being in the program?
We have about 30 on roster at the moment, but we will know more when football finishes. We also have five managers.
Which team(s) will be tough in your area?
Our area is going to be a bear just about from the top down. With Lumpkin, Banks and Dawson all winning their respective areas last season and Banks finishing as state runners-up. But the other teams were just as strong last year and young so it will be an absolute battle come area time. Then after area we pick up very strong Jefferson and Morgan County teams when we move on to state sectionals.
"I am excited about this year's group of young men. They are all outstanding people and hard workers. They listen intently to my assistants (Ryan Coker, Noel Poisson, Gregg Adams and Kenny Houseal) and myself every day, just trying to soak up everything and become top wrestlers within the area and state," Haynes said.
The Tigers will host their first home meet on Nov. 18 with Gilmer County and Forsyth Central. First match should begin at 5 p.m.