Madison County wrestlers took third place in the eight-team Inferno Tournament in Elberton Saturday.
The Red Raiders finished behind Lovett and Elbert County. Other teams in the field included Hephzibah, Jones County, Stephens County and Greenbrier.
The tournament marked one of the strongest performances for the Red Raiders this year, with six wrestlers finishing in the top three in their weight class.
“It was a good way for the guys to end the regular season,” said Red Raider head coach Ritchie Houston. “Ereck Larkins placed and Donnie Harper wrestled really aggressive and tough. We hope to use that weekend as a springboard for the next three weekends.”
Andrew McCannon took first place in the Inferno Tournament in the 195 lb. weight division. Second place finishers included: Tanner Gordon, 120 lbs.; Max Nash, 126 lbs.; Harper, 132 lbs.; and Steven Resby, 182 lbs. Larkins finished third in the 145 lb. class.
Houston said Resby faced a really tough opponent from Lovett and lost in a one-point match.
Now, the Red Raiders turn their attention to the Region 8-AAAA tournament at Habersham Central Feb. 3-4.
“In Region 8, whether it’s class A or AAAAA, it’s tough; this part of the state is where wrestling is at,” said Houston.
The coach said several weight classes in Region 8-AAAA are full of high-quality competition.
“(The) 132 (weight class) has three kids who’ll probably finish one, two and three in the state,” said Houston, adding that the 126 lb. class is tough as well. “Some weight classes are stacked.”
Houston is trying to get his squad ready. He said his team is pretty healthy headed into the postseason.
“It can be a rough two weeks physically,” said Houston. “You’re not going to really go in and blow anybody out of the water and beat them by 10 or 12 or get that 30-second first-period pin. Everything is going to be close. Once you get deeper in the tournament, it’s going to be like wrestling yourself. So, I’m trying to get them ready for that. It’s a learning experience for a lot of young guys.”
Madison County has one wrestler, Max Nash, who advanced from the region tournament to the state sectionals last year.
The top four placers in each weight class at the region tournament will advance to the state sections in Loganville Feb. 10-11, with the top eight at sectionals advancing to the Gwinnett Arena for the state finals Feb. 16-18.