Callaway’s Kiss wins championship

Published 1:22 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

Welcome back to the winner’s circle, Justin Kiss.

During his first two seasons as a wrestler for the Callaway Cavaliers, Kiss enjoyed tremendous success, and he won his share of tournaments.

Kiss didn’t wrestle as a junior, but he has returned to the team for his senior season.

Last weekend, Kiss showed that he still has what it takes to bring home a first-place medal.

Callaway competed in the Woodstock Wolverine Classic, and Kiss earned the championship in his weight class.

Also for the Cavaliers, senior Matthew Wingate finished third in his weight division.

Those were Callaway’s only two placers, but coach Jason Boatman said it was a successful tournament for his team.

“We had five make it to the second day, and we had a couple of freshmen win matches which was pretty awesome,” Boatman said. “We got to see some really good competition. It was a really good experience.”

Kiss was a state placer as a freshman and a sophomore, but it had been a while since he’d competed against elite wrestlers.

“It was on his mind,” Boatman said. “He would even make comments that I hadn’t done this in a while.”

Kiss looked right at home, though, and he won all three of his matches by decision.

“He went the distance on all those matches, and he adjusted from match to match,” Boatman said. “He just did a good job of chain wrestling and working a lot of different things. And his conditioning was good enough for him to do that. That says a lot about him.”

On Wednesday, Callaway came up short in head-to-head matches against Heard County and Central-Carroll.

Boatman still considered it a productive day, though.

“Eleven out of the 14 guys were either freshmen or sophomores last night,” Boatman said. “And they were able to hang in there last night. So I was super-proud of them. Everybody battled really hard.”

Boatman was also pleased that, despite missing some wrestlers, he was able to field a full lineup.

This weekend, Callaway will participate in the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament at Central-Carroll.

“It’ll be really good competition,” Boatman said. “That’s what I told them was to build on each week, and build on each practice. Just learn from these experiences. Everybody’s going to make a mistake, but what are you going to do after you make that mistake. Are you going to learn from it and build off it? That’s what we’re preaching right now?”