The Dawson County Tigers middle school wrestling team won the Mountain League Wrestling Dual Championship on Friday, Dec. 18.
After being ranked #1 for their performance throughout the season, their first round opponent was #4 White County. The Tigers fell behind early, losing five of their first seven matches.
When Saul Ruiz came to the wrestling mat, he battled hard for three rounds and got the momentum back for the Tigers by winning in three rounds by points, 15-7.
After Ruiz’s victory, the Tigers went on a run of four pins in a row by Sean Emerson, Landon Barr, Aiden Sneed and Lonnie Barrett. The lead was temporarily back with the Tigers, but two pins in a row for White County made the next match a must win.
Kennedy Norton, the only girl who wrestled for the Tigers on Friday, stepped up big for her team and pinned her opponent in the second round. This combined with Marcos Redman’s first round pin secured the 52-39 victory against White County. The Tigers advanced to the championship against Clear Creek, the middle school that feeds into Gilmer County High School and won 52-31.
“I am so proud of our wrestling team,” Tigers head coach Andrew Grigsby said. “These guys and girls have proven that hard work pays off.”
With the team championship trophy in hand, the Tigers traveled to Fannin County the next day for the individual championships. Seven Tigers wrestled for a championship in their weight class with three of them winning the individual title.
Landon Glander (86), Emerson (132) and Barr (139) all brought home individual titles in their weight class. Barr wrestled against teammate Aiden Sneed in the 139 pound weight class. Sneed, along with Norton (210), Zack Cruz (155) and Mason Rosenberg (79) all finished in second place.
Grigsby said he was especially proud of his eighth graders. In their sixth grade year, nobody won a single individual match. This season, they went a clean 10-0 and won the championship.
“Our returning sixth and seventh graders have big shoes to fill, but they have lots of talent,” Grigsby said. “I’m excited for next year’s middle school wrestling season.”
Though the season is over for the middle school team, any eighth grader now has the opportunity to make the junior varsity team at the high school for the remainder of the season.