The Dawson County High School wrestling team honored five seniors as the Tigers split two matches on Thursday, Jan. 20. Sam Bottoms, Trevor Cowart, manager Rebekah Lynn, Holden Martin and team captain Will Whalen were recognized for their contributions to the team as they prepare to graduate this spring.
While a spate of injuries and shortage of weight classes has hindered the team’s ability to find their footing this season, the Tigers showed intensity as they battled Cherokee Bluff and East Forsyth on Thursday. DCHS dropped the first match 60-24 to Cherokee Bluff before defeating East Forsyth 36-34.
“Right now, the boys are starting to come into their own; they are on fire,” head coach Arron Hayes said. “We are really excited going into the area tournament next weekend, with a lot of individuals with the opportunity to qualify for state.”
One of those potential state qualifiers is Martin, who made the most of his final night at the Ford Phillips Center with two signature wins. Although Cherokee Bluff proved to be a difficult opponent for most of the night, Martin’s performance helped bring the noise levels in the arena to its loudest.
No Tigers were sitting down on the sidelines as Martin tugged and tussled away through his first match. He brought a fresh burst of energy to his team, who carried that momentum when they faced off against East Forsyth.
“Probably one of the best matches I have had this year,” Martin said. “I just decided that I can’t lose on senior night…we had to go out with a win.”
The match against the upstart Broncos was tight throughout, but especially toward the end when time was running out. With spirited efforts from all, the Tigers stamped their fifth victory of the season on an important night.
“At the very beginning we were starting out really slow, but the more we wrestled the more momentum we got and more energized we got,” Whalen said. “Noah Smith was our 106. Instead of getting pinned…he got majored, and that was one of the main reasons why we won.”
On this night when five members of the wrestling team made their final home match appearances, a time for reflection was in order. As important as Haynes’s influence on the technical abilities of his players has been, he has also been credited with being a positive influence in life.
“He’s definitely made me more mature, a better man [and] a better wrestler,” Martin said. “He inspires me to be better at home and in school.”
The DCHS wrestling team heads to Gilmer County on Friday, Jan. 28, and Saturday, Jan. 29 to participate in the Area 5-AAA tournament.