The concept for the Apalachee High School Wildcat Invitational was simple.
The event was designed to allow those participating to get several matches in two days against quality competition. AHS coach Jim Stoudenmire feels the mission was accomplished Friday and Saturday.
“We had a good turnout and there was a ton of wrestling,” Stoudenmire said. “I thought as a team we did pretty well. We had some of our wrestlers do well until they got banged up. No one comes out of that kind of format without some sore spots. It’s not something you would do later in the season.”
Clarke Central, coached by Stoudenmire’s brother, Tim, was the overall winner.
One of the top performers for the Mat Wildcats was Aaron Roberts, the lone returning senior. Roberts competes at 135.
“Aaron’s been wrestling like he’s on fire,” Stoudenmire said. “He finished undefeated and really had some strong matches.”
Teammates Kevin Bindschusz was second at 140 while Randy Fowler was second at 145.
Nicolas Zuirbulis (103), Justin Skinner (112), Uriel Carter (125) and Trey Dobbs (152) were each fourth in their respective weight classes.
Winder-Barrow High School finished sixth overall. Coach Chad Horne, while pleased with the showing, said the result could have been higher.
“We ended up sixth overall behind Walnut Grove,” Horne said. “I think that we really should have been in the top five or maybe four if we would have had everybody. We were missing a 171 and 130 the first day and the next day we were also missing our 125 (didn’t make weight), 140 (didn’t make weight), 189 (hurt), and 160 (hurt). I am not sure that we could beat North Hall, Commerce or Clarke Central, but I think that we could beat Walnut Grove and Apalachee.”
Top performers for the Mat Doggs included:
•Dallas Rivoli, 4-5 with four pins.
•Tristen Yaptengco, 6-1 with five pins, first place.
•Eric Shepherd, 3-3 with three pins, fourth place.
•Landon McFarland 3-1 with three pins.
•J’Lin Seay, 5-4 with four pins
•Brandon Montgomery, 6-3 five pins, fourth place.
•Austin Stewart 5-3, four pins, fourth place.
The tournament moved at a rapid pace and Stoudenmire thanked those assisting for its smooth run.“We had a great turnout of parents working the concession stands and hospitality room,” Stoudenmire said. “Our junior varsity kids were helping run the tables. You can’t pull off that kind of tournament without a lot of help. When you get past the first few rounds it gets a little easier but we have to have a lot of help when we get things started. In fact, we were actually ahead of schedule a couple of times.”
Typically at tournaments, wrestlers wait two hours in between matches. That wait time was cut to 45 minutes at the Wildcat Invitational, according to the AHS coach.
“We were going as fast as we could get them on the mat,” Stoudenmire said. “We would have five matches going at the same time.”
AHS will compete at the South Forsyth Santa Slam Friday and Saturday.
“We are starting to shore up our lineup and our weight classes,” Stoudenmire said. “We are still working in a couple of spots. I think we will eventually be fairly formidable. We’ll just keep hammering away.”