Cavalier wrestlers making progress

Published 10:40 am Friday, December 22, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

He’s picking up where he left off.

During his first two seasons as a high-school wrestler, Callaway’s Justin Kiss was nearly unbeatable, and he was a state placer both years.

Kiss didn’t wrestle as a junior, but he’s back for his senior season, and he’s going strong.

Kiss, who won a tournament at Woodstock earlier this season, went 5-0 on Thursday during the Callaway Classic.

“There were a few hoops I had to jump over (after returning),” said Kiss, who had finishes of fifth and sixth place at state as a freshman and a sophomore. “Besides that, I got right back in it. It was the same old, same old.”

Callaway finished with a 1-4 record during the Callaway Classic, which featured eight teams.

Callaway beat Bowdon, and lost to LaGrange, Upson-Lee, Harris County and Lamar County.

Callaway coach Jason Boatman still felt it was a productive day as the team gears up for the Area 5-AA duals that will take place in a little more than two weeks.

“We’re preaching about the importance of team points with the area duals coming up,” Boatman said. “You could see that translating to how hard they’re wrestling. Even if we’re winning by six or seven, they’re fighting, trying to get a takedown. Don’t give up an escape.”

While Kiss was Callaway’s top wrestler on Thursday, there were plenty of other highlights as well.

Brandon Belton, who has overcome a physical disability to become a solid wrestler, got a pair of wins, both by pin.

Anthony Elliott, LaQuize Gilbert, Jakwon Nunley, Michael Ewers and Jared Nation also won matches for Callaway.

Boatman said Elliott fought gamely while wrestling up a weight class.

“Anthony fought hard,” Boatman said. “He’s a sophomore, wrestling up. He fights his tail off.”

Jamie Sellers didn’t win any matches, but Boatman still felt it was a successful day for the senior. Sellers, who was a standout defensive lineman on the football team, made his debut as a wrestler, and he held his own.

“He was taking shots. He was very aggressive,” Boatman said. “I’m proud of him. The best thing I heard him say all day was, that was fun. I breathed a little sigh of relief.”

Boatman said a lot of wrestlers got a lot of valuable experience, win or lose.

“Everybody got a lot of time today,” Boatman said. “That’s the biggest thing about these tournaments.”

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