Jackson County finished fourth overall at the Area 4 AAA duals held at Oconee County High School Jan. 4-5.
Coach Jason Powers said that the team’s finish achieved a minimum target set by the Panthers at the outset of the season.
“We have been in the top 4 at area duals for over 6 years and we did not want to lose that streak,” Powers said.
JCCHS defeated West Hall (40-32) and Buford (47-30), before losing to Banks Co. (57–9) in the semifinal. In the consolation bracket, the Panthers defeated White Co. 40-28 in the semifinals before losing in the finals to North Hall (30-42).
Conner Andreasen (132 lbs.) and Daivon Ledford (170 lbs.) were among the Panthers to go undefeated during the event. JT Wood, Lane Robertson and Evan Breakspear turned in strong performances, with each wrestler going 3-2 during the meet.
Powers praised the teamwork but did point out that giving less than personal best cost the team against North Hall.
“We had to wrestle our best at each weight class and we didn’t,” Powers said. “We lost a couple of matches that we should have won and lost a couple of matches by pin that we shouldn’t have. That cost us the match...Overall, I am proud of our kids, but we have to make it a goal to make it to state duals next year and that work begins now and will not end until this time again next year.”
JCCHS resumed its training this week with focus on the development of individual wrestlers, including seniors Andreasen and Ledford who are poised to excel in the traditional format next month.
Jackson County’s top four finish marks the sixth straight time the team has performed that well or better at area duals.