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LeBaron named best in his class
9 Tigers advance to state sectionals
DCHS Wrestling pic2
Kelton LeBaron pins Zane Poe from Lumpkin County during the Area tournament Jan. 30 at West Hall High School. LeBaron was crowned Area Champion at 113-pounds. - photo by Ryan Coker Dawson County News

Dawson County High School's Kelton LeBaron, a freshman, was crowned champion of the 113-pound weight class at the Area Wrestling Tournament at West Hall High School Jan. 30.

LeBaron (27-11) will now advance to the State Sectionals at Morgan County High School Friday and Saturday.

LeBaron received a bye in the first round of action last week.

In the second round he pinned Zane Poe from Lumpkin County.

The championship match saw a familiar matchup for the talented freshman.

His opponent was Franklin County's Chase Pritchett, who defeated LeBaron at the Area Duals earlier in January.

This time LeBaron would have his revenge. He pinned Pritchett in the first period.

"I am very proud of how he remained focused on his goal and came back...I am very excited about his future on the mat," said Tigers Head Coach Arron Haynes.

Not only is LeBaron headed to the State Sectionals but eight of his teammates qualified as well. Of the nine Tigers wrestlers going six of them are ninth graders.

Joining LeBaron will be Wyatt Smith (106 pounds), Kevin Arias (120 pounds), Robbie Rarick (132 pounds), Levi Baggett (145 pounds), Jeremy Whalen (160 pounds), Jack Cupp (182 pounds), Brenden Capps (195 pounds) and Jordan Waddell (285 pounds).

Cupp, Baggett, Smith, Arias and Rarick are freshmen.

Three Tigers wrestlers will be alternates, meaning that they will wrestle at Sectionals if a wrestler ahead of them is unable to compete.

Alternates will be Parker Kincaid (220 pounds), Ethan Cowart (138 pounds) and Nate Umberger (152 pounds).

Also wrestling were Caine Wells (170 pounds) and Jason Steele (126 pounds) for the Tigers.

Finishing as runners-up in their weight class were Smith (106 pounds).

Smith lost to champion Devin Mullinax (Banks County), who sported an impressive, 31-3, record.

On his way to the finals Smith defeated Jesus Martinez (West Hall) by pin and JT Phines (Lumpkin County) in a close 3-2 decision.

Smith is 38-3 on the season.

Jeremy Whalen (160 pounds) also finished in second place. Whalen began the tournament with a bye before pinning Logan Coker (Franklin County) in the semi-finals.

Whalen lost in the championship match to Chris Guthrie (Banks County) in a 12-7 decision.

Whalen is now 32-5 on the season.

Taking third place were Waddell (285 pounds), Capps (195 pounds) and Rarick (132 pounds).

Waddell, junior, began the tournament with a bye before being defeated by Ricky Castillo (West Hall).

Waddell would get his revenge in the consolation bracket by pinning Castillo to take third place.

Waddell is 22-10 on the season.

Capps, senior, started the tournament with a pin over Jose Marceleno (West Hall) before losing to Austin Kennedy (Banks County).

Capps fought his way back to defeat Hunter Anglin (Franklin County) in an 8-5 decision and Michael Lewis (Fannin County) in a 9-5 decision.

Capps will bring an impressive 23-15 record into the Sectionals.

Rarick, 25-14, pinned Anthony Cruz (Banks County) to open the competition. Rarick then lost in the next round to Branden Garnto (Lumpkin County) before bouncing back to pin Parker Campellone (West Hall) and Justin Wheat (Fannin County).

In fourth place were Arias (120 pounds), Baggett (145 pounds) and Cupp (182 pounds).

Arias, 16-16, received a forfeit from JC Traylor (Fannin County) in the opening round. The freshman then lost to James Stoudenmire (East Hall) in the next round of competition. Arias pinned Jared Roberts (Banks County) before losing in consolation bracket to Robbie Campbell (West Hall).

Baggett, 30-13, pinned Leo Capistran (East Hall) in the first round before losing to Jesse Bridgewater (West Hall) in the next round. Baggett won a very close match over Nick Page (Banks Count) before dropping his last match to Carter Hopkins (Lumpkin County).

Cupp, a senior, finished the tournament with a 25-17 record. Cupp began the competition with a forfeit over Zach Marinell (Franklin County) before losing a 7-3 decision to Kevin Thompson (East Hall).

Cupp bounced back to pin Ricardo Vazquez (West Hall) before taking fourth with a loss to Noah Denard (Lumpkin County).

Dawson County finished fourth as a team with 156 points.

Lumpkin County was crowned Area Champion with 242 team points.