Raiders Win Area 6-AAAAA Wrestling Duals Championship

Raiders Win Area 6-AAAAA Wrestling Duals Championship

On Friday, January 5, 2018, the last Friday night of Winter Break, the Raiders hosted the Area 6-AAAAA Duals. Area teams competing for a spot in the State Tournament were Decatur, Lithia Springs, North Springs, and Riverwood. The Raiders easily knocked off North Springs in the semi-finals and defeated Decatur in the finals to earn a berth in the 2017-18 Class AAAAA Team Dual Championships.

The State Championships start Thursday, January 11 at the Macon Centreplex. The Raiders face Locust Grove Thursday at 12:30pm (view or download the Class AAAAA team duals bracket) Last year, the Raiders suffered two narrow losses on the first day and did not advance into the weekend. This year, with more experience and more weight classes filled, they are looking for a deep run in the tournament.

 

Area 6-AAAAA Duals Recap
Semi-finals vs. North Springs

The semi-finals kicked off with Decatur facing Lithia Springs and Riverwood vs. North Springs. Raider Head Coach Zach McKeone shuffled some weight classes and went to the mat with the following line-up:

106:    Tess McQuary

120:    Ronan Quigley

126:    Mick McQuary

132:    Alex Gruenig

138:    AJ Harris

145:    Ethan Hunt

152:    Slim Harris

160:    Trey Forbes

170:    Daba Fofana

182:    Ronald Humprhey

195:    Nicolo Salvatori

220:    Malcolm Stewart

285:    Justin Miller

The heavily favored Raiders started off with Malcolm Stewart collecting a win by forfeit at 220. Justin Miller followed with the most competitive match of the night, and narrowly lost. As Tess McQuary stepped on the mat, the score was tied at 6. When North Springs forfeited at 106, McQuary collected 6 points for Riverwood. This put the Raiders in the lead for good. Behind pins from Mick McQuary, Alex Gruenig, AJ Harris, Ethan Hunt, Slim Harris, Daba Fofana, Ronald Humphrey, and Nicolo Salvatori, the team cruised to a commanding 72-6 victory.

Area Finals vs. Decatur
Decatur won in similar fashion over Lithia Springs to set up a rematch of last year's Area Duals final. The Raiders were determined to avenge last year's narrow loss and Coach McKeone adjusted the lineup slightly. Due to injuries, both teams were short-handed. The Bulldogs were without state-placer Kaden Spann at 132, and the Raiders entered the finals without state-qualifier Bashiri Bobo at 160.

120:    Ronan Quigley

126:    Alex Gruenig

132:    Mick McQuary

138:    AJ Harris

145:    Ethan Hunt

152:    Slim Harris

160:    Trey Forbes

170:    Daba Fofana

182:    Ronald Humphrey

195:    Nicolo Salvatori

220:    Malcolm Stewart

285:    Justin Miller

The dual started at 285 with immediate controversy. At the end of the first period, both wrestlers continued aggressively wrestling. After an exchange of words, the referee stepped in and disqualified Justin Miller. The disqualification cost the Raiders 3 team points while the Bulldogs gained 6. But, it was not over quite yet. Before leaving the mat, Decatur's grappler removed his shoulder straps, incurring a 1 point penalty. Thus, after only one period, the Raiders faced an 8 point deficit. Knowing the dual would be very close from top to bottom, this advantage might have been the break the Bulldogs needed to tip the match in their favor.

The Raiders forfeited at 106 and 113 to give Decatur 12 additional team points.

As Ronan Quigley stepped on the mat, the deficit was 20 points (-3 to 17). Quigley went the distance in this rematch from last year. In 2017, he narrowly lost to the same wrestler. Fortunately, this year's outcome was different. Tied 5-5 in the third period, Quigley got the takedown and held on for a 7-4 win. This 3 point decision brought the Raiders back to 0, and closed the gap to 0-17. More importantly, it started a string of victories that turned the match.

Alex Gruenig followed with a pin at 126 to make the score 6-17. Mick McQuary won by forfeit at 132, bringing the score to 12-17. The Raiders followed with four straight pins:  AJ Harris at 138, Ethan Hunt at 145, Slim Harris at 152, and Trey Forbes at 160. The Raiders now held a 36-17 lead with four wrestlers to go.

Daba Fofana lost a close match late in the third period allowing Decatur to pull within 13 (36-23). Ronald Humphrey sealed the victory with a pin early in the first period. With only two matches remaining, the Raiders were ahead 42-23. Continuing the positive trend, Nicolo Salvatori and Malcom Stewart's wins led to a final score of 42-35.

This was a great win for the program. On a night when every point made a difference, the Raiders collected an impressive 15 pins.