Local wrestlers earn spots in state finals
The local schools will be well-represented at the state wrestling finals this week.
When the state finals get under way on Thursday at the Infinite Energy Arena in Gwinnett County, there will be a combined 18 wrestlers from Callaway, LaGrange and Troup participating.
Troup leads the way with eight wrestlers in the finals, and LaGrange and Callaway have five apiece.
Troup headed to the state sectional on Friday with 13 wrestlers, and all but five of them finished eighth or higher in their respective weight division to advance.
Troup’s highest finishers were Trevor Upchurch (113 pounds) and Hudson Newton (285 pounds), who each placed fourth, and Chase Seals (120 pounds) was fifth.
Steven McClendon (106 pounds), Jeremiah McClendon (138 pounds) and Trey Harris (152 pounds) were each sixth, Quenton Kersey (182 pounds) was seventh, and Brantly Robinson (126 pounds) placed eighth.
Byron Butts (160 pounds) made a run at a state spot, but he settled for a 10th-place finish.
Among LaGrange’s five state qualifiers are Guy Wegienka and Emmanuel Mann, who each finished second in their respective weight divisions at the sectional.
Wegienka reached the final match in the 195-pound division before falling to Torres Finney of Jones County, who is unbeaten this season at 36-0.
Mann finished second at 285 pounds after falling to Gabe Smith of Camden County.
Finishing sixth for LaGrange was Matt Watford (152 pounds), Dakota Wilson (126 pounds) was seventh, and Dominique Copeland (160 pounds) placed eighth.
John Todd Bohn (120 pounds) and Colt Creed (113 pounds) each finished 10th.
One of Callaway’s wrestlers is Justin Kiss, who dropped his first two matches of the season but still did enough to make it through to the state finals.
Kiss, a state placer a year ago, finished fourth in the sectional at 106 pounds.
Andrew Thomas (170 pounds) also gave LaGrange a fourth-place finish, Gabriel Liranzo (160 pounds) was fifth, Khaliq Swift (138 pounds) was sixth, and Ken Wilson (120 pounds) was seventh.
Matthew Wingate (152 pounds) finished ninth, and he’ll be a state alternate.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports