It was a great weekend for Tiger wrestling fans. Dawson finished in fourth place behind Jefferson, Banks County and East Jackson in the Area Duals held at East Jackson High School.
The Tigers saved their best wrestling for Friday and Saturday as they almost got through for a chance to go to state.
The Tigers won team matches against North Oconee, 38-36 and Riverside, 61-18, before losing to Jefferson, 72-9, and tying with East Jackson, 39-39.
One sad note for the Tigers was the injury to 189-pound wrestler Donnie Spittel. Spittel injured his neck and had to be flown to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. As of Sunday morning, Spittel was in stable condition with no paralysis, according to Head Coach Arron Haynes. Spittel was released from the hospital Monday morning, according to Haynes.
No further information on Spittel’s condition was available as of press time.
“Donnie was wrestling hard and it’s just an unfortunate injury. We will be praying for his speedy recovery,” said Haynes.
Seedings for the tournament were decided by each team’s record up to this point in the season. Perennial state champion Jefferson was seeded at the top, followed by Banks County, East Jackson, North Oconee, Dawson County, Riverside, Fannin County and Oglethorpe County in that order.
Dawson drew North Oconee in the first round. The winner would face Jefferson.
The Tigers came away with a close 38-36 win. Pinning their opponents for the Tigers were: William Ridings (145), Nick Tobias (152) and Kenneth Davis (160). David Wood (112) won his match 10-2, while his teammate Joe Perry (130) won 11-0.
The Tigers then drew powerful Jefferson High School. The Dragons are among the elite, no matter what classification, in wrestling throughout Georgia.
Haynes’ team won only two matches, with wins by Perry with a 6-4 decision over Cain Finch of the Dragons and Nick Tobias with a pin over Carson Newman. The Tigers lost the match 72-9.
“Both these guys wrestled really well against very strong opponents,” said Haynes.
In the losers bracket, the Tigers were matched up against Riverside Military Academy from Gainesville. Earlier in the week, Dawson ambushed the Eagles 57-21. This time would prove no different as the Tigers ran away with the match by a 61-18 score.
Getting points by way of pin were: Joe Perry, Ridings, Tobias, Kenneth Davis (160), Zac Paz (285), James Evans (103) and Luke Parks (119). Receiving wins by forfeit were John Markley (140) and Donnie Spittel (189).
David Wood won 6-2 at 112 pounds and Preston Adams shutout his foe 12-0 at 135 pounds.
Dawson then wrestled East Jackson on Saturday afternoon.
The match ended up in a tie, but the Eagles got the win because of the criteria that is set up for Area Duals. East Jackson would receive the win because of the sixth criteria as set up by wrestling officials.
Haynes remarked, “It was disappointing for our kids. I felt if we could get by East Jackson that we had a real good shot at beating Banks County. That would have put us in the state (tournament) next weekend.”
Preston Adams (135) defeated his East Jackson opponent 6-1. Pinning their East Jackson challengers were: Joe Perry, Nick Tobias, Kenny Housel and James Evans. Receiving a forfeit win was David Wood.
“Our kids wrestled hard and I’m very proud of them. We had a chance to go to state, but we are going to get better,” said Haynes.
The team wrestled yesterday against Johnson and Winder-Barrow for senior night. Scores were not available as of press time.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.