The Commerce High School wrestling team put on a show for the home crowd last weekend as the Tigers hosted and dominated the Area 4-A tournament.
Commerce advanced 13 of 14 wrestlers to the Class A East Sectional meet and took first place by a wide margin to clinch the Area 4-A championship.
“We got after it,” said Tiger head coach Kendall Love. “That’s the best I’ve seen our kids wrestle all year.”
Love said he was anxious heading into the tournament after snow days interrupted the Tigers’ regular practice routine; however, his worries were quickly resolved.
Dalton Flint (106), Mitchell Patton (113), Austin Brock (120), Cole Chancey (120), Tyreke Wiggins (152), Trent Reddish (160), Greyson Cochran (170), Chance McClure (220) and Derek Benoit (285) all finished first in their respective weight classes.
Michael Patton (132), Dontavious Mosley (182) and Morgan Flint (195) placed second, while Jake Tate (145) finished third.
Commerce finished first of 289. The Tigers were followed by Athens Christian (204), Holy Innocents’ (162) and St. Francis (115.5).
Love said he was not only pleased with the way his team wrestled, but also with the way the tournament was hosted.
“It’s always nice to host the area tournament in front of your home fans,” said Love. “I want to send a huge thank-you out to all the folks who came out to watch and especially those who volunteered their time. Any time I can concentrate on coaching rather than administrative responsibilities is huge for our team. We couldn’t have done it without all (the volunteers’) hard work.”
With 12 wrestlers heading into the sectional tournament with a number one or two seed, Love feels confident that all of his Tigers can take the next step to the state tournament.
“We are in by far the toughest area, so we should have a really good chance to get these guys through sectionals,” he added. “We just have to keep this momentum going.”
The Tiger wrestlers will travel to Holy Innocents’ in Atlanta on Saturday (9:30 a.m.) to compete in the Class A East Sectional tournament.
For the veteran corps of Tiger wrestlers, a trip to sectionals is an annual occurrence. But six Commerce competitors will be taking their first trip to sectionals and possibly the state traditional tournament.
Still, Love notes that nerves won’t faze the up-and-coming wrestlers.
“I’m not really worried about that,” he said. “We’ve had a brutal schedule. …They’ve wrestled on a big stage before. They are prepared.”