The Commerce Tiger wrestling team earned a third-place finish last weekend at the Panther Invitational hosted by Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
Twenty-one area teams competed in the two-day event, including rival and overall winner of the tournament, Jefferson.
“I was definitely proud of the effort of the guys that were out there last weekend,” said Tiger head coach Kendall Love. “Getting a top-five finish with what we had – we only had 10 weight classes filled. That was our first match, and some of the other teams there already have had 10 to 20 matches, so we were a bit behind. It showed a little bit, but I feel like as the season progresses, that will improve. Not a bad opening to the season.”
The Tigers had seven wrestlers place in the top five in their respective weight classes including last year’s state champion, Chance McClure.
McClure went undefeated in the tournament, barreling through the competition in the 220 lb. weight class.
“Chance has only been out for a day or two, and honestly hadn’t even practiced yet,” said Love. “To pin his way through that bracket speaks volumes about where he is at. The leadership he provides to the team shows.”
Love also said he was particularly pleased with the effort of Tyreke Williams, who placed third in the 160 lb. weight class.
Love’s main focus for his team is getting it conditioned and in prime shape for competition.
“In general, I’m proud of all of them,” said Love. “We lost some matches we probably shouldn’t have lost, but we aren’t anywhere near the shape we need to be in, but that will come.”
The Tigers hosted Rabun County and North Hall Tuesday, but details were unavailable at press time.
Commerce will travel to Brookwood High School for another invitational tournament Friday (5 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m.), Dec. 7-8.
Top five Panther Invitational finishers were: Chance McClure (4-0), first, 220 lb.; Cole Sweeney (3-1), second, 195 lb.; Trent Reddish (3-2), fourth, 182 lb.; Greyson Cochran (3-2), fifth, 170 lb.; Tyreke Wiggins (4-1), third, 160 lb.; Jake Tate (5-2), fifth, 145 lb.; Josh Westmorland, fifth, 138 lb.