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Wrestlers advance to first round of state
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Five Dawson County High School wrestlers advanced to the first round of state after their performances last week during the area traditional tournament at Fannin County High School.

"We are very excited about the results from this weekend," said Coach Arron Haynes. "Our area is without a doubt one of the toughest in the state and it was hard fought."

Sophomore Kelton LeBaron (113 pounds) had a bye in the first round before defeating Lumpkin's Dylan Gee. He took second with a 7-2 decision over Jackson County's Kaden Andreason.

Sophomore Wyatt Smith (120 pounds) also had a bye in the first round before defeating Jaxon Stowe of Monroe in the second. He also finished second with an 8-3 decision over Jackson County's Hector Torres.

Sophomore Levi Baggett (152 pounds) defeated Christian Hardin of Franklin County in the second round before his loss to Morgan's Antonio Robinson. He earned a spot as an alternate finishing sixth.

Junior Nate Umberger (170 pounds) had a bye early and finshed fourth with a win over Hart County's Cameron Martin.

Senior Jeremy Whalen (182 pounds) defeated East Hall's Jeff Linares and Hart's Nathanial Benson before wrestling to a fourth place spot with an 8-7 decision over C.J. Rucker of Franklin.

Sophomore Jack Cupp (195 pounds) ended in fourth with a 5-4 decision over Monroe's Eric Sheats. In the early rounds he defeated East Hall's Gabriel Rodriguez and Fannin's Adrian Mendosa.

A second alternate spot went to junior Jake Williams (285 pounds) with his fifth place finish over Jackson's Stephen King.

"The boys really showed up and got after it," Haynes said.

There are a few injuries that have continued to nag wrestlers, but Haynes said they are healing up well.

"It's a long season and the sport is tough on the body as you can imagine," he said.

The wrestlers who advanced to state sectionals will compete Feb. 3 and 4 at Morgan County.