The Banks County Middle School Leopards competed this past Saturday in the toughest preseason tournament in the state, the Jr. Mountaineer Tournament in Dahlonega.
Team leaders say the team wrestled extremely well considering 75% of the roster has never wrestled in a middle school tournament.
BCMS placed second as a team behind Lumpkin County Middle School which has 36 eighth graders on their team. Schools in attendance were Banks, Jasper, White, Lumpkin, Towns, Franklin, Union, Habersham, Riverview, Dawson, Fannin, West Jackson and Pickens Counties.
Out of 16 weight classes, Banks County had eight in the top four. This is the 16th tournament in the last five years that Banks County Middle School has placed in the top three as a team.
"Please give these kids some praise for the hard work they put in managing their weight and competing in the toughest sport in the school system,” head coach Tyson Baxter said. “Most of the kids on the team do not have the greatest home life so a pat on the back would mean a lot to them."
The Leopards placed as follows: Devin Mullinax second in the 77lb class, Corey Turner first in the 112lb class, John Brooks first in the 120lb class, Davis Day fourth in the 128 lb class, Chris Guthrie second in the 136lb class, Stoney Jarrard fourth in the 152lb class, Demetrius Walker second in the 160lb class and Cade Ridley second in the 175lb class. Also winning matches were Pedro Perez, Blake Caudell, Craig Evans, Edgar Garcia, Austin Payne, Oscar Reyes, Eric Zaragooza and Shane Jordan.
Banks County placed second with a score of 86 points. Lumpkin took top honors with 101 points, Dawson County third with 59 points and Jackson County fourth with 45 points.
"We were behind all the other teams because they had already wrestled one tournament, but our kids showed a lot of heart and came through for us. This group of kids are hard working and by the end of the season I think we can beat anyone in the state. One thing I know is that they will not out work us," said Coach Baxter.
The Leopards will compete this upcoming Saturday at The King of the Mountain tournament in Towns County.