As runners-up in both the Area 2-AAAAA duals and the county championships, Northside suffered a measure of disappointment through the first two-thirds of its wrestling season. Thats all but forgotten now.
Northside captured its first area traditional wrestling title in a decade with a victory in the Area 2-AAAAA meet at Northside High School on Saturday. The Eagles topped the eight-team field with 187.5 points. Jones County placed second with 150 points. Evans finished third.
There was definitely some improvement (since the county meet), Northside senior Shaady Hassan said. We picked up the pace at practice, and it definitely showed.
Hassan was one of six Northside wrestlers who earned berths in the title bouts of their respective weight classifications. Five of them won, including three in head-to-head matches with Jones County wrestlers. Northsides winners were: Hassan; Tony Martin; Kalob Willis; Dontavious Stubbs and Diego Smith.
In addition, six other Eagles advanced to the GHSA Class AAAAA East Sectionals this weekend in Loganville. They are Graham Bolton, Romello Reese, Brandon Whited, Clark Hellwig, Ace Hemmer and Wesley Bateman.
Warner Robins finished fifth in the area meet and qualified six wrestlers for sectionals. Hunter Clark, Tyler Cranford, Jeremy Fleury and Quathon Lawson each finished as runner-up in their respective classifications. Keanu Kirk and Greg Gilbert also qualified for the sectionals.
Houston County will send three wrestlers to the sectionals: Riley Glover; Blake Rogers and Ryan Adams.
Perry, Veterans grapplers earn sectional berths
Host West Laurens won the Area 2-AAAA traditional wrestling meet Saturday, but several athletes from Perry and Veterans earned berths in the Class AAAA East Sectionals.
Perrys Sean Swan (220-pound classification) and Dillon Hanners (285) won their weight classifications as did Marquis Franklin (195) of Veterans.
Perrys additional sectional qualifiers were: Billy Gordy; Dallas Ray; DJ Alford; Cody Eakins; Hoke Morrow; Jake Parker; Derekston Williams; Mark Ray; Rex Lower; DJ Collins; Jatavis Owens; and Adam Parker. The Panthers finished second in the team standings.
In addition to Franklin, Veterans will be represented at the sectionals by Vincent Do, Dorian Batts, Grant Lensch, Mickey Dugan, Dalton Schultz and Trent Payne.
GHSA state swim meet qualifiers
Warner Robins will send 12 athletes to the GHSA state swim meet beginning Friday at Georgia Tech. Chandler Green qualified in three individual events: 50-yard freestyle; 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard breaststroke. Hell also swim a leg of the Demons 200-yard freestyle relay team with Brannon Green, Brendan Stockwell and Greg Borenstein. Bekah Morris qualified in the 100-yard freestyle. The Demonettes also qualified all three relay teams: the 200-yard medley and the 200- and 400-freestyle relays. Morris is slated to participate in each, as is Erin Butikofer and Haley Talati. Kaitlin Stockwell will swim two relays and Lauren Poston one. Warner Robins will also send Abby Butikofer, Tij Verhees and Farbod Zahiri as alternates
Eight Veterans High swimmers earned qualifying times and will compete. Casey Hitch and Leanne Bagaoisan qualified in the boys 500-yard freestyle and the girls 100-yard backstroke, respectively. Hitch also qualified as part of the Warhawks 200-yard freestyle relay team along with Logan Walker, Kyle Starkey and Chris Larramore. Bagaoisan will swim a pair of relays at state -- the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay -- with teammates Ilse Ballard, Caitlyn Meece and Hanna Kagele.
Houston Countys are John Bagay, Chris Jordan, Jordan Wilkins, and Hunter Woodard. They qualified in the 200-yard freestyle relay. In addition, Northsides Lee Thompson qualified for state in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard freestyle.
HOCO soccer scholarship signees
Houston County senior teammates Jasmine Johnson and Hanna Wilkes will continue that relationship at the next level. Each accepted athletic scholarships to continue their educations and play soccer at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College during a Friday ceremony at the high school.
Having played together off and on since middle school, the two are familiar with one another, and it seemed right that they should continue in that vein.
I wanted her to play with me, Wilkes said of Johnson.
Wilkes missed her entire junior school-ball season because of an injury to her left knee. ABAC coach Jimmy Ballenger scouted Wilkes during club ball, however, and thought the 5-feet-9-inch defender would be a good fit with the Fillies program.
The daughter of Brandi and Derek Burgess, Wilkes plans to enroll in a pre-physical therapy program. She said her knee injury had a significant impact on her choice of a major.
I didnt think I would play again, she said.
Johnson plays at the opposite end of the field. One of the Lady Bears top goal-scorers, Johnson hopes to fill much the same role at ABAC. She is a four-year starter with Houston County.
Ive gotten faster (over my career), and my footwork has gotten a little better, Johnson said of her development.
The daughter of Jacqueline Ellison, Johnson said shes interested in a career in business management or marketing. She appreciates effective advertising.
Westfield sticking with GISA
The Westfield School Board of Trustees voted to remain in the Georgia Independent School Association (AAA classification) through the next realignment cycle.
According to a release from the school, Head of School William Carroll said the Board decided that continuing its membership in the GISA is the best choice for Westfield after weighing the options of both associations. Mount De Sales Academy in Macon recently voted to switch from GISA to GHSA, prompting speculation others might follow.
As with any situation that may affect our school and the academic and athletic opportunities for our students, we will continue to monitor the benefits of membership in both the GISA and Georgia High School Association over the next two years, Carroll said in the statement.
NHS football awards earners
Northside held its football awards banquet Thursday. The coaching staff honored players on the junior varsity and varsity teams.
Kendall Scott (Christian athlete); Colby Knighton (leadership, offense); Trey Payne (leadership, defense); Marqualis Kitchens (Mike Martin award); Nate Green (sophomore academic); Bobby Hines (junior academic); Jaleel Morris (senior academic); Isaac Rivera (special teams); Rodney Levine (captains and defensive back); Thomas Brown (linebackers); Ty Allen (offensive line); Anfirnee Chatfield and Austin Roberts (defensive line); Curtis Martin (captains and running backs); Glenn Smith (receivers/quarterbacks); Robert Davis (hustle offense); Cassius Miller (hustle defense); Keshun Hill (Golden Helmet and most outstanding offensive player); Marquez Moore and Austin Roberts (most outstanding defensive players).
Tyree Williams (defense) and Willie Jordan (offense) earned junior varsity honors.