Creekview led the way for Cherokee County at this past weekend’s state sectionals for traditional wrestling.
The Grizzlies qualied 15 wrestlers for the state tournament — 13 boys and two girls — which was the most in program history. Creekview qualified in each weight class where they entered a wrestler and coach Joe Hulen said it was a good step on the way to the state’s traditional wrestling finals.
“It was a good test for us,” Hulen said. “We had some kids wrestle really well and I think we put ourselves in a good place to have multiple state placers and champs.”
Creekview had four wrestlers finish first in their respective weight classes with Andrew Cory (126), Wyatt Higgins (160), Eli Daugherty (220) and Parker Bennett (285). The Grizzlies finished fifth in AAAAAA last season at the traditional state meet and should be in contention once again this week for a possible state championship.
“The kids have a goal and that’s a state championship,” Hulen said. “They have a white board where they write their goals and that’s not something the coaches gave them. They wrote that on their themselves.”
The Grizzlies boast several impressive records heading into this weekend’s state championship. Bennett, a junior wrestling at heavyweight, is undefeated at 56-0 while Daugherty, who won state last season wrestling in the heavyweight division, is 42-1.
Higgins (60-3), Cory (52-5) and Jared Willmarth (50-5) all have legitimate chances of challenging for individual state titles. Josh Bledsoe, Mason Botts, Jackson Gilleland, Jairon Jarrett, Andrew Riley, Cade Sousa, Willie Thang, Andrew Riley and Walker Wilkie all advanced to the state championships for Creekview.
Creekview also qualified two girls for the state finals in Emilee Daniel and Grace Botts. Daniel finished second in the 102 pound weight class while Botts finished first in the 132 pound weight class.
“We’ve never had a girl qualify, so now having two is an awesome feeling,” Hulen said. “It’s been a growing experience that has helped us out a ton. The girls work very hard and their work is paying off.”
Sequoyah also had multiple wrestlers qualify for the AAAAAA state championships. Eight different Chiefs advanced past the sectionals with Carson Throne (120) and Christian Small (132) each finishing first in their respective weight classes. Thacker Carnes, Jack McGarry, Harrison Hood, Kemar Plummer, Tomus Satterfield, Izaiah Sanders, Charlie Throne all qualified for the state championships for Sequoyah.
River Ridge rounded out the AAAAAA program from Cherokee by qualifying Maverick Cooper (126) and Jesus Perez (170).
In AAAAAAA, Cherokee qualified seven wrestlers and three alternates. Jacob Silka (106) and Kade Johnson (126) each won their weight classes while Trevor Hands (138), Nolan Newby (152) and Jake Matheny (170) and Vinnie Montgomery (132) each qualified for the state championships. Carson Rhodes, T.J. Parks and Stephen Weatherby will serve as alternates for their respective weight classes.
Cherokee also qualified its first ever girl, with Zoe Parris finishing in first place in her sectional at the 132 pound weight class.
“Zoe let her teammates know during preseason captains conditioning that she was going to be different than any of the rest of the wrestlers,” Cherokee coach Jerry Kadian said. “She’s tough and had adapted from Brazilian Ju Jitsu extremely well. It’s been super fun and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.”
Michael Roe finished in first place in the 120 pound sectional and will lead a group of six wrestlers from Woodstock including Sebastian Aguilar (160), Chris Evans (220), Caden Gilmartin (126), Nolan Shina (195) and Bryce Venable (152).
Etowah will take Jaden Field (220), Joseph Lago (145), Daniel McEntyre (106) and Ty Videkovich (132) to the state championships with Ethan Jones (195) serving as an alternate.