At the conclusion of the Area 5-7A traditional wrestling tournament, there was one first place trophy that two teams had earned.
North Forsyth and South Forsyth tied for first place with 230 team points each, and as such were named co-champions Saturday at North. Lambert finished third with 197 points, followed by West Forsyth, Forsyth Central and Milton.
The War Eagles thought they trailed the Raiders by three points going into the final match of the event for third place at 285 pounds between South’s Trevor Patrick and Central’s Jake Gardner. A major decision or better, and South would be area champions.
And when Patrick pinned Gardner in just 29 seconds – earning six team points – the War Eagles were jubilant.
But more deliberate math prevailed.
Instead, North and South had tied.
Soon after the results were announced, the question was who would take the trophy home. South coveted it, for it felt like further proof of the War Eagles’ progress under first-year head coach Josh Stephens. South had finished runner-up at the area dual tournament to North, who went on to finish third in Class 7A. The War Eagles finished eighth.
“The effort they had was great,” Stephens said. “They all were feeding off each other, believing they belong and closing the gap with [North]. North can do the same thing [as us] – they can go back and say, ‘We should’ve won this match, or we could’ve got a bonus this match.’
“But in the end it’s still the third place team in the state, and we tied them here. A couple breaks in there and we win the whole thing. It’s a great stepping stone.”
South had five individual area champions in AJ Riner (106 pounds), Sam Ranta (126), Jackson Baraff (132), Charlie Ranta (138) and Ian Hunt (195) and matched North with 13 wrestlers who qualified for the Class 7A East Sectionals this Friday at Mill Creek High School.
North gave the trophy to South, and the team embraced it, posing for pictures and gazing at the unfamiliar keepsake. The War Eagles looked like a team celebrating the moment.
The Raiders did not. North had three individual area champions in Paul Watkins (120), Conner Carroll (160) and Andy Leggett (170) and seven more who reached the area finals.
But the Raiders lamented going 5-8 in their final matches.
“It’s disappointing for us. Hands down,” North head coach Travis Jarrard said. “We didn’t have a very good final round. Up until that final round we wrestled alright. … South had a great last round. A lot of pins and really took it to us and put the pressure on us.
“I think it will be a good lesson for my kids to not take anything for granted.”
Lambert actually exceeded North in area individual champions with Payton Mitchell (113), Daniel Morin (145), Cole Burke (152) and Eric Kohlins (182), and the Longhorns qualified 10 wrestlers in all for sectionals.
Central qualified nine wrestlers, led by Sebastian Legarra who won the area individual title at 220 pounds.
West qualified eight, led by Hunter Jolly who was the area individual champion at 285.
106 – AJ Riner (South) d. Walid Abdullahi (North), 8-0 major decision
113 – Payton Mitchell (Lambert) d. Abraham Perez (Central), 13-8 decision
120 – Paul Watkins (North) d. Kemran Ishmail (South), 15-0 technical fall
126 – Sam Ranta (South) d. Tate Bissell (North), 3:05 fall
132 – Jackson Baraff (South) d. Spencer Dooley (North), 0:35 fall
138 – Charlie Ranta (South) d. Cole Tenety (North), 4-2 decision
145 – Daniel Morin (Lambert) d. Riley Wheeler (North), 12-2 major decision
152 – Cole Burke (Lambert) d. Trevor Smith (South), 1:28 fall
160 – Conner Carroll (North) d. Tyler Bunten (West), 3:47 fall
170 – Andy Leggett (North) d. Will Kohlins (Lambert), 6-5 decision
182 – Eric Kohlins (Lambert) d. Brantley Little (North), 3:18 fall
195 – Ian Hunt (South) d. Ethan Young (Lambert), 13-6 decision
220 – Sebastian Legarra (Central) d. Andrew Pilgrim (West), 0:42 fall
285 – Hunter Jolly (West) d. Mason Wacker (North), 0:53 fall
T1. North Forsyth 230
T1. South Forsyth 230
3. Lambert 197
4. West Forsyth 132
5. Forsyth Central
6. Milton 62
Central (9): Abraham Perez, 113; RJ Colon, 120; Hunter Kurowski, 132; Miles Bankston, 145; Christopher Tourtillot, 152; Keaton Platzke, 182; Hunter Stephens, 195; Sebastian Leggara, 220; Jake Gardner, 285
Lambert (10): Chase Mitas, 106; Payton Mitchell, 113; Gabe Hernandez, 126; Alex Dobleman, 132; Mike Miller, 138; Daniel Morin, 145; Cole Burke, 152; Brett Malinowski, 160; Will Kohlins, 170; Eric Kohlins, 182; Ethan Young, 195;
Milton (2): Grant Benati, 120; Khaled Rmeih, 126
North Forsyth (13): Walid Abdullahi, 106; Elias Koehler, 113; Paul Watkins, 120; Tate Bissell, 126; Spencer Dooley, 132; Cole Tenety, 138; Riley Wheeler, 145; Conner Carroll, 160; Andy Leggett, 170; Brantley Little, 182; Connor Cross, 195; Cade Jensen, 220; Mason Wacker, 285
South Forsyth (13): AJ Riner, 106; Kemran Ishmail, 120; Sam Ranta, 126; Jackson Baraff, 132; Charlie Ranta, 138; Zach Moore, 145; Trevor Smith, 152; James Porter, 160; Joey Burke, 170; Mitchell Frankel, 182; Ian Hunt, 195; Davis Duncan, 220; Trevor Patrick, 285
West Forsyth (8): Cam Westray, 106; Cole Ewing, 113; Jack Woodall, 138; Creston Lorenzo, 152; Tyler Bunten, 160; Jackson Wells, 170; Andrew Pilgrim, 220; Hunter Jolly, 285
UP NEXT: Friday, Feb. 3 to Saturday, Feb. 4, Class 7A East Sectional at Mill Creek High School