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Wrestling team takes part in two major tournaments over break
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Senior Wyatt Smith pins his opponent at the last second during the Amicalola Classic at Dawson County High School on Dec. 29. - photo by Bob Christian

During the holiday break, the Dawson County wrestling team hosted nine teams from across the north Georgia region for the annual two-day Amicalola Classic Dec. 28-29.

The first day of the tournament featured five rounds of team matchups, known as duals, with each team victory worth 20 points towards the final tournament score.

The Tigers started their tournament at 9 a.m. Dec. 28 with a first-round matchup against the Duluth High School Wildcats.

Dawson County took care of business across the board with a score of 72 to Duluth’s 12, and round two gave Dawson County another lopsided victory as they defeated Cherokee Bluff High School 78-6.

The East Hall High School Vikings provided the toughest challenge of the day as they managed to put together a small string of victories in the bout, but ultimately the Tigers came out on top with by the total of 42-29.

East Jackson fell to the Tigers in every match as Dawson County finished day one of the Amicalola Classic undefeated and in a tie for first with the similarly undefeated Swain County High School Maroon Devils.

Day two of the tournament saw the teams field their individual wrestlers in a traditional, bracket-based tournament broken down by weight class.

Once again starting at 9 a.m., Dec. 29 was a continuous series of bouts as the participants worked their way through the early stages of the brackets to establish the finals for the consolation and championship matches to take place in the afternoon.

As the brackets took shape, the Dawson County Tigers found themselves holding onto the tournament lead by a half point as six Tigers were on pace to appear in a championship fight, and three more had the opportunity to win their event’s consolation bracket.

During a break for lunch, Brad Weaver was announced as the winner of the team’s fundraising raffle. Weaver took home a $400 gift card from tournament sponsor, Appalachian Armory.

The second half of the Classic started with the final rounds of the consolation brackets and Kevin Arias was the first Tiger to step on the podium for the day as he captured a fourth-place finish in the 126 pound class. Christian Harper and DJ Mitchell quickly followed suit as they captured the third-place spot in the 145 and 170 pound classes respectively.

Trevor Cowart and Kincaide Schuette opened the championship matches with a pair of tough second-place finish in the 106 and 152 pound weight class, but then a string of Tigers went on to grab first place medals as Wyatt Smith (132 pound), Levi Baggett (195 pound), Alex Payne (220 pound) and Danny Phillips (285 pound) all won their brackets.

The all-out effort allowed the Tigers to maintain and extend their tournament lead and when dust settled Dawson County was named the winner of the Amicalola Classic with a final team score of 233.5.

The Dawson County Tigers traveled to Traveler’s Rest High School in South Carolina for the Devil Dog 2019 traditional-style tournament on Jan. 5.

 “We had a tough tournament,” Head Coach Arron Haynes said. “But the boys fought hard even with several key wrestlers missing from the lineup.”

Baggett and Harper provided the high points for the Tigers as they both captured third place finishes in their respective brackets of 152 and 145 pounds.

Five more Tigers, led by Elliot Woodcock and including Arias, Schuette, Mitchell and Payne, all posted scoring finishes in their bouts, but overall Dawson County only put together 108 points on the day for an 11th-place finish.

Dawson County was in action at home on Jan. 8 when they hosted the Dawson County meet. Results were unavailable as of press time.