Callaway’s Kiss cruises to CRWA title
CARROLLTON – Justin Kiss took care of business.
The Callaway High wrestler had three matches during the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament, and he won them all in dominating fashion.
Kiss, who was a state placer during his freshman season, is enjoying an exceptional sophomore season that now includes a championship medal from the 14-team CRWA tournament that was held at Central-Carroll High School on Friday and Saturday.
In the title match at 113 pounds, Kiss locked horns with Devin Caito of Heard County.
The two had met a few days before, and Kiss was never challenged on the way to a one-sided win.
The rematch was more competitive.
Kiss was clinging to a 2-0 lead after the first period, and he led 9-5 through two periods.
In the third period, Kiss finally finished things off by pinning Caito.
Callaway coach Josh Ghobadpoor said being challenged is a good thing for Kiss, who rarely faces much opposition.
“I told him the best thing that could happen is for him to get taken down and put on his back, because he hasn’t been taken down all year,” Ghobadpoor said. “He knows what it’s like to be in that situation, and to have a close match, and then he finished it out.”
Kiss said everything he’s doing is about getting ready for the critical matches down the road.
“I’ll just keep working until area,” Kiss said. “Get past area first, and then get ready for sectionals, and then state.”
The win by Kiss was part of a solid showing for Callaway at the CRWA tournament.
“We had a really good weekend,” Ghobadpoor said. “We had nine guys wrestling varsity, and we had five placers out of those nine.”
One of Callaway’s placers was Andrew Thomas, who reached the championship match at 170 pounds.
Thomas had a first-round bye, and he won his next two matches to reach the title round where he fell short against Hardaway’s Emilio Evans-Pagan.
Also for Callaway, Matthew Wingate won his first two matches at 152 pounds before losing to Troup’s Trey Harris in the quarterfinals.
Wingate bounced back from that loss to win his next match and he finished third.
“He beat some really good guys,” Ghobadpoor said of Wingate. “He almost beat the guy that placed second, and he was down 9-1 against Alexander, and he came back and got a pin. It was a really good day for him.”
At 106 pounds, Brandon Belton gave Callaway a fifth-place finish, and Gabriel Liranzo was sixth at 160 pounds.
“We’re coming along, slowly but surely,” Ghobadpoor said. “We’re taking every event as a really good practice. We’re trying to get ready for state.”
Ghobadpoor, who is in his first season as Callaway’s head coach, said “we have a really good core group of guys.”
“They care about each other,” he added. “They want each other to do well. It’s exciting.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports