BEING SHORT a few wrestlers made things a bit more interesting than normal for the Jefferson wrestling team.
With 219.5 points, the Dragons won the ‘Sham Slam over the weekend by 18.5 points over Archer, a margin closer than the perennial state champs are accustomed.
“We won barely, but we won,” coach Doug Thurmond said. “We were doing without several kids.”
Archer finished with 201 points, while Gilmer County (178), Heritage of Catoosa (170.5) and North Gwinnett (149.5) rounded out the top five.
Jefferson, minus three starters and another who became sick during the tournament, had several wrestlers step up in the 30-team event.
“It was good for our other kids because they had to take up the slack, and they did,” Thurmond said.
Three Dragons won their weight classes, led by Forrest Przybysz (182 lb.), who was named “Outstanding Wrestler” for the upper weight classes. Others first-place finishers were Jack Dollar (138 lb.) and Cain Finch (152 lb.).
Also placing were Isaac Kelly (second, 132 lb.), Tyler Marranelli (third, 126 lb.), Kyle Kashuba (fourth, 113 lb.), Josh Harris (fourth, 120 lb.) and Jace McColskey (sixth, 170 lb.). Ben Kelly (106 lb.) and Zach Rhymer (145 lb.) both won three matches, and Carson Newman (195 lb.) and Kamen Johnson (heavyweight) also won multiple matches.
“I’m just glad we were still able to win,” Thurmond said. “It’s the end of the season. We’ve got some kids who are really sore and kind of banged up, so we’re trying to keep them healthy.”
The coach also pointed to the level of competition at this tournament.
“With the group that was there, as tough as the field was, it was pretty awesome,” Thurmond said. “We were really happy about that.”
Jefferson, which wrestled against Dunwoody, Stone Mountain and Druid hills at Dunwoody this past Tuesday, is off this weekend in preparation for the Feb. 3-4 traditional area tournament at Elbert County.
“That’s kind of why we schedule the way we do,” Thurmond said. “I do that on purpose. We don’t do anything the week before area.”
The area tournament will mark the beginning of the traditional post season as Jefferson aims for its 12th consecutive state championship. The Dragons already won the state duals championship on Jan. 14, their 11th title in a row.
The program has won 26 state championships between dual and traditional competition in its history.