JACKSON County didn’t finish in the top 10 over the weekend at Loganville’s Eric Hill Memorial wrestling tournament, but the Panthers can still count it as a learning experience.
Six Panthers placed individually as Jackson County took 11th in the 24-team tournament.
“The Eric Hill Memorial has always been a difficult tournament for us and that was the same again this year,” coach Jason Powers said. “I am proud of the way that some of our wrestlers battled to win matches as well as the fight they had in their losses.”
Powers said his Panthers “became better wrestlers through the struggle,” while the tournament provided Jackson County with good preparation for the all-important January-February portion of the season.
Those placing were Zach Moore (third, 120 lb.), Tre Velasquez (fourth), J.T. Wood (fifth, 113 lb.), Conner Andreasen (fifth, 126 lb.), Michael Shekey (sxith, 106 lb.) and Bryan Burnette (sixth, 145 lb.).
Though Jackson County’s 11th-place showing was below Powers’ expectations, there was the notable absence of Daivon Ledford.
“Our 11th-place finish as a team is not where we wanted to be, but with Daivon Ledford not being able to attend on Saturday due to prior obligations it’s not a horrible finish,” Powers said. “If Daivon would have been back on Saturday and a couple of other wrestlers would have pulled out some close losses then we could have finished in the top six — where we should have been.”
Jackson County entered the Eric Hill Memorial after notching two more dual wins to run its record to 11-3, beating both Madison County and East Jackson last Tuesday (Dec. 13).
Wrestlers going 2-0 were Shekey, Wood, Moore, Andreasen, Burnette, Ledford, Evan Slayton and Velasquez.
Jackson County has this week off for Christmas to heal and spend time with family.
Following the break, the Panthers travel to Toombs County Dec. 28-29 for another big tournament.
“I think the break will be beneficial to us both mentally and physically,” Powers said. “We have had a pretty tough tournament schedule over the past couple of weeks. I expect that we will be ready to wrestle when we get back from the break and I expect us to do well down in Toombs County.”