At the end of the first round of the GHSA 3-A State Tournament in Macon on Wednesday, Feb. 10, Dawson County wrestlers Scotty Warner (152) and Logan Buytendorp (126) advanced to the championship round of the tournament.
The top six wrestlers in each weight class place at the tournament. With his performance today, Scotty Warner locked in a spot within that top six. He advanced to the semifinal match without a loss, winning his first three matches.
“Warner was without a doubt the biggest surprise of the day,” Tigers head coach Arron Haynes said. “He didn’t even wrestle with us last year. He is the greatest testament of listening to the advice that the coaches give you and get better throughout the season.”
Warner lost his semifinal match but will still wrestle in the championship on Thursday night for a third-place finish.
But Buytendorp’s journey to championship night wasn’t so straightforward. After winning his first match, he lost to an undefeated Jacob Pedraza from North Hall High School. Pedraza wrestles for an individual state title tomorrow.
Buytendorp had to wrestle his way through the consolation bracket to keep competing for a third-place finish. He went on to dominate his next two matches, winning by fall in his first and winning a lopsided 14-6 victory in the second. So far, Buytendorp has only locked in a top-eight finish, but one more win will place him on the podium in the top six.
Bradley Newton (220) was just one win away from joining his teammates in the championship rounds. After winning his first match, Newton also lost in the round of 16 to a player wrestling for the individual title match. Newton came back to win his first consolation match 8-5, but hurt his arm and lost by fall.
Though the Tigers roster has been full of young wrestlers this year, it was the three seniors that advanced furthest in the tournament. Haynes said that with season end tournaments, he is always rooting a little harder for the seniors, since it is their last chance for glory at the high school level.
“Our seniors this season have been phenomenal,” Haynes said. “The backbone of our team. It’s great to see all of them have such great success today and for those two guys to wrestle their way into an opportunity to place in the state tournament.”
The Tigers sent eight wrestlers to state sectionals Wednesday morning and six of them one their first match. Along with Warner, Buytendorp and Newton, Kincaid Schuette (170), Will Whalen (182) and Colton Schuette (195) all advanced to the round of 16.
Kincaid Schuette and Whalen won their first consolation bracket match to advance and ended the day with two wins and two losses. Newton and Colton Schuette finished with one win before being eliminated and both Jack McCarthy (120) and Riley Westbrooks (138) lost their matches.NFHS Network will be streaming all of Thursday’s championship rounds from Macon, Ga., on their website for a small fee. The matches start at 7 p.m.