Three champs at War Eagle Classic
By Nick Nunn
Dec. 21 and 22, the Morgan County High School wrestling team traveled to the Woodward Academy for the War Eagle Classic. Morgan County produced three tournament champions and eight medalists in the top four against some of Atlanta’s premier private schools.
The War Eagle Classic’s two-part, hybrid format was different than any of the tournaments Morgan County has competed in so far this season.
On Friday, each wrestler from all 12 schools attending competed in five matches, drawn at random, and the top eight wrestlers were placed in a championship bracket based on their performances in the first five rounds. The championship brackets were then played out on Saturday to determine each wrestler’s overall standing in the tournament.
Jack Leclair, Austin Ross, and Bailey Ross came out Friday with perfect records, and Jacob McAlister and Quentavious Jackson both went 4-1.
Ten of Morgan County’s 12 wrestlers in the event qualified for the eight-man brackets on Saturday.
McAlister, Austin Ross, and Bailey Ross were tournament champions in their weight class after the second day. Leclair and Preston Langley came in second place for Morgan County, Stewart Spence took third, and Carter Shultz and Jackson both earned fourth place finishes in the tournament.
“This was without a doubt our best team effort up to this point,” said Coach John Robbins about the tournament at the Woodward Academy. “Out of 12 teams, we finished in third place just barely behind West Laurens and Tournament Champions Woodward Academy.”
Morgan County’s third place finish is all the more impressive since Coach Robbins had to scratch three of his starters, Nathan Lundy, Luke Mitchell, and Clayton Bearden, just before the beginning of the tournament.
“Three tournament champions and eight medaling in the top four in such an elite tournament is a pretty good indicator that we are getting back into our normal stride,” continued Coach Robbins.
As the AAA State Duals will take place in the next few weeks, Coach Robbins is seeing that his individual wrestlers are finding their places on the team.
“Langley has been a great addition and is starting to give us a real anchor at heavyweight,” began Robbins. “McAlister and Leclair are both wrestling with a newfound confidence. The Ross boys’ commitment to getting better... is really paying off for them, as they both continue to cruise through the competition. Shultz and Jackson are also both beginning to figure it out, making great efforts individually as well."
The wrestling team has a couple of big events to start off the new year. On Jan. 4, the team will be traveling to Blackshear to compete in the 1-AAA Area Duals, which will be hosted by Pierce County.
On the 11th and 12th, the Mat Dogs will be competing in the AAA State Duals at the Macon Coliseum, where the team will be seeing some of the competition they faced at the War Eagles Classic for the second time.
Coach Robbins will use the time between now and then to make sure the MCHS wrestlers are able to overcome the obstacles they faced two weekends ago when they arrive in Macon.
“These are definitely the matches we need to prepare for the big stage in Macon.”
Printed in the January 3, 2013 edition