Head coach Arron Haynes and the Dawson County High School wrestling team participated at the Area 5-AAA tournament on Monday. Jan. 31, with eight players earning spots at the State Sectionals later that week.
With an area including East Forsyth, Gilmer, North Murray, and Murray County, the Tigers found success across several weight classes.
"We are very excited to be taking eight wrestlers to the State Sectionals," Haynes said. "With a young team, this is great to get them state experience and to get the 'wow' factor out of the way now as they contend for titles in the future so that they will not have that distraction."
The highest finisher on the night was senior Will Whalen, who finished as runner-up in his weight class of 182. Whalen had also been the most successful wrestler for the Tigers during the regular season, compiling a record of 25-8.
Four Dawson County wrestlers finished third in their weight classes, including senior Holden Martin, who secured a victory in his third-place match on a fall with 47 seconds remaining.
The other third-place finishers were Alex Stewart, Luke Lowe, and Isaiah Lail. Stewart finished the night accruing the most team points for the Tigers, with 15.
Fourth-place finishers included Noah Smith, Riley Westbrooks, and Noah Roberson. Senior Trevor Cowart placed fifth in his weight class but was selected as an alternate for the state sectionals.
The State Sectionals were held at Lumpkin County High School and split into two sections — the first will held on Friday, Feb. 4, at 5:30 p.m., while the second held Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. Wrestlers who finished in the top six of their respective weight classes moved to the State Finals next week in Macon.
"Obviously we are stepping up the competition this weekend so it will be exciting to see how we rise to the occasion," Haynes said. "I feel like we do have a chance for a couple to move on to the State Finals next week, but it will be a tough row to hoe."
At the State Sectionals, Whalen finished sixth in his weight class to earn a spot at the State Finals, while Lowe placed seventh in his class to become a first alternate.
“Whalen wrestled through a tough tournament while battling through injuries to qualify,” Haynes said. “We are really excited, since he is a senior.”
The State Finals will take place from Thursday, Feb. 10 through Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Macon Centreplex. Whalen is set to wrestle Friday at 6 p.m.