Madison County finished fifth out of 14 teams over the weekend at the Morgan County Invitational as the Red Raider wrestlers move toward the Christmas holidays.
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” coach Richie Houston said. “I think these next two to three weeks will determine a lot.”
Madison County – which wrestled Tuesday but results weren’t available at press time – hosts its annual Red Raider Duals Saturday at 9:30 a.m. This year’s event will be held in the Madison County Middle School gym instead of the high school gym.
Madison County put two wrestlers in the finals of their respective weight classes in this past weekend’s tournament. Cody Phillips finished second in the 119-lb. division and Isaac Ruiz took second in the 145-lb. class.
Madison County also boasted a third-place finisher, Michael Robertson (189-lb.), while Colton Phillips (125-lb.) and Kyle Goron (215-lb) took fourth.
Adding a fifth-place finish was Steven Resby (171-lb.).
Brett Coggins (112-lb.) and Matt Dove (285-lb.) were both sixth.
“I think it was a good tournament, a good learning experience,” Houston said. “After the brutality of the Panther (Invitational) the week before, it was a good change for them.”
Cody Phillips now has an 11-2 record, the top mark on the varsity squad.
“He’s having a good year,” Houston said.
The same can be said for Isaac Ruiz, who’s 7-1; and Kyle Bates and Colton Phillips, who are both 8-3.
Houston also noted that freshman Max Nash is having a “great year,” in limited varsity action.
Nash has a 5-0 varsity record and won a JV tournament last week. He’s undefeated in junior varsity matches.
But Houston noted that Nash is “kind of in no-man’s land” by sharing the 119-lb. class with Cody Phillips.
The hope is that Nash can drop to 112-lb. exclusively.
The team also awaits the return of Tyler Adams, who qualified for state last year. Adams injured his shoulder in the season-opener, but Houston said the senior should be back for this weekend’s Red Raider Duals.
As for the Red Raider Duals, this year’s tournament features nine other teams, mostly from the area: Commerce, Cedar Shoals, Athens Christian, Elbert County, Stephens County, Greenbrier, Lakeside-Evans, Westside-Augusta and Chestatee.
The tournament is divided into two pools of five teams. Each school wrestles the four other teams in its pool and one cross-over match.
The top two teams from each pool will then wrestle for first and second place, while the rest of the teams will pair off with their corresponding teams in the other pool to determine the rest of the placements.
Not only does Madison County hope for a high finish in its own tournament, it hopes for a nice day at the gate, too.
“It’s kind of a money-maker for us,” Houston said.
The Red Raider wrestlers will then head out of town to the mountains of Western North Carolina Tuesday and Wednesday for the Cherokee (N.C.) Invitational.
“It’s a good change for the guys,” Houston said.
Madison County then will be headlong into its schedule after the new year. The Region 8-AAAA duals are Jan. 8. The traditional region tournament is less than a month later, Feb. 5-6.