JACKSON County’s wrestlers now have two top-five showings in as many tournaments this season.
The Panthers produced nine medalists in a runner-up finish at Lassister’s Friday-Saturday MTXE Invitational, led by Bryan Burnette (145-lb.) who won his weight division.
Jackson County — fifth-place finishers a week earlier at the Panther Invitational — placed behind Holy Innocents in the overall standings.
The Panthers, who wrestle this weekend at the Eric Hill Memorial in Loganville, had four wrestlers place second: Michael Shekey (106 lb.), J.T. Wood (113 lb.), Zach Moore (120 lb.) and Daivon Ledford (170 lb.). Others medaling were Conner Andreasen (third, 126 lb.), Anthony Ledford (fourth, 132 lb.), Lane Robertson (third, 182 lb.) and Tre Velasquez (fourth, 195 lb.).
“The varsity wrestled tough and came away with nine medalists,” coach Jason Powers said. “We had a couple of individuals that I believe should have finished a little higher in their bracket, but it just means we need to keep working hard everyday at practice to get us to where we want to be.”
Powers said his team was just a couple of points away a few losses over the weekend.
“I really hope we improve and are able to beat those wrestlers if we wrestle them again at the end of the year,” he said.
Prior to the MTXE tournament, Jackson County (9-3) added to their dual win total with Dec. 6 victories over Franklin County (53-18) and White County (49-27).
Individuals going 2-0 on the night were Shekey, Wood, Moore, Andreasen, Tyler Henderson, Burnette, Jacob Hogan and Ledford.
“Our lower weight classes did a great job once again to get us the victories in these two matches,” Powers said. “However, we did pick up a couple of key victories in our upper weight classes that helped us put the matches away.”
The coach pointed out that Henderson (who wrestled at 132 on the junior varsity) earned two wins in his varsity debut.
“I am very proud of his performance and it is going to take that kind of effort from numerous of our JV guys to help us pick up victories throughout the season,” Powers said.
He also noted that Evan Slayton and Antonio Messineo “got a couple of good victories in the wins as well.”
JUNIOR VARSITY: The JV Panthers also enjoyed a strong weekend with a sixth-place finish out of 18 teams at the Falcon Duals at Flowery Branch. Jackson County picked up victories over Wheeler and Milton.
The top performers in the tournament were Colton Springer, Jonathan Gaines, Trey Evans and Chris Puckett.
“This is by far the best JV team that we have ever had,” Powers said. “They are competitive in every tournament they go to and continue to get better as the season progresses. Having a solid JV team is very important to a program as they are the future of the program. I am very excited about the talent that we currently have in the program and look forward to not only a great year this year, but some great years to come.”