Congratulations to AJ Harris (138) and Ronald Humphrey (182) for their fifth place finishes in the 2018 State Traditional Wrestling Tournament.
The Wrestling Team traveled to Macon for the 2018 State Traditional Tournament Thursday, February 8 through Saturday, Feburary 10. The five qualifiers were: Ronan Quigley (120), Alex Gruenig (126), AJ Harris (138), Slim Harris (152), and Ronald Humphrey (182). Nicolo Salvatori (195) and Justin Miller (285) were the two alternates.
Wrestling began Thursday afternoon, and the Raiders had mixed results. Both Alex Gruenig (126) and Slim Harris (152) lost their opening match to the eventual State Champions. Ronan Quigley (120) suffered a first round loss also; however, he bounced back with a round two win. A late scratch at 285 gave Justin Miller an opportunity to take the floor, but similar to Gruenig and Slim Harris, he lost in the first round to the eventual State Runner-Up. The highlights of the day were 2-0 starts from AJ Harris (138) and Ronald Humphrey (182). Both wrestled very well and earned spots in the semi-finals the following day. Unfortunately for the Raiders, only AJ Harris and Ronald Humphrey were still in the brackets at the conclusion of day one.
Competition resumed Friday, with the two remaining Raiders scheduled for the afternoon. Both AJ Harris and Ronald Humphrey lost in the semis on Friday afternoon, and then narrowly missed the consolation match with losses on Friday night. With only six wrestlers remaining in each weight class at the end of the second day, Harris and Humphrey were still in the tournament.
On Saturday morning, Harris and Humphrey each had a shot to wrestle for fifth place in their weight class. To start the morning, Harris faced the opponent from Locust Grove. This was the third time this year they would meet. In the previous two encounters, Harris pinned him (in the 2018 State Duals and in Round 2 of this tournament). Saturday's match was similar to the previous two. Harris dominated the entire first period and looked completely in control. Very early in the second period -- indeed, with only 28 seconds elapsed -- Harris again pinned his opponent. The win secured fifth place in the State (138 lbs) and a trip to the podium.
Humphrey's match was not as smooth. Humphrey faced the opponent from Loganville in the battle for fifth place. Humphrey got off to a good start with a takedown early in the first; however, in the middle of the second period, he was behind 6-2. An escape brought the score to 6-3 and both wrestlers were now on their feet. As time was running down, Humphrey caught his opponent in a front headlock, took him to the mat, and then to his back. It was now a race against the clock. With 11 seconds left in the period, the referee called the pin and the Raiders secured another fifth place finish.
Raider Season Notes:
The 2017-2018 season was very successful. Head Coach Zach McKeone, Coach Drew King, and Coach Brooks Brody did an outstanding job and can be proud of the team's progress. Accomplishments include winning First Place in the Area in both the Duals and Traditional tournaments, and sending 12 wrestlers to the Sectionals. Additionally, the team qualified for the State Duals and had five individuals qualify for the State Traditional Championships. Of the five State qualifiers, two placed in the top five of their weight class. With all five state qualifiers returning next year, as well as two of the alternates, the future is very promising.