The Winder-Barrow High School wrestling team took its share of lumps this weekend at the Jackson County High School Panther Invitational.
However, coach Jim Stoudenmire likes how his team is improving after competing in tournaments of this nature.
“It was just a brutal tournament,” the coach said. “There were 25 teams and there was not a weak one among them. There was some great wrestling. We did well for our situation as we took several young wrestlers.”
Several WBHS freshman are wrestling on the varsity level this season.
“In a perfect world, they would be on the JV,” Stoudenmire said. “However, a couple of them have won varsity spots. We had some freshman win matches at Jackson County. That’s impressive for a ninth grade wrestler to do.
“Overall, we showed marked improvement from the previous week. We are recognizing situations and are knowing what to do when certain things happen on the mat. It has to be a natural thing because you often get beat when you have even a moment of hesitation. Still, I’m encouraged by how we wrestled. We just faced some tall challenges.”
The Mat Doggs do have a large group of seniors on this year’s roster including Nolan Daniel, Danny Cuellar, Stephen Head, Austin Iler, Dylan Kennedy, Jake Leazer, Joey Mullins, Tyler Tinsley, Nick Smith and Adrius Griffin. Juniors include Nicholas Brooks, Martin Cintron, Austin Peacock, Gavin Pieniaszek, Nick Tapplin and Jeremy Ramsey.
The large group of freshman include Cameron Best, Zach Brooks, Austin Castlio, Austin Cha, Jordan Creppel, Jacob Daniel, Kesean Dottin, Jimmy Higginbothan, Bailey Leazer, Donnie Miles and Matt Newell.
Stoudenmire said Head, one of the team’s seniors, has wrestled well this season but has faced “one nightmare opponent after another.”
Social Circle High School was the overall winner at Jackson County’s Panther Invitational with 223 points followed by Commerce (215) and Jefferson (153). WBHS compiled 15 team points.
The Mat Bulldoggs will compete at Apalachee High School’s tournament Friday and Saturday.AHS coach Graham Burns said in addition to AHS and WBHS, Brookstone, Cedar Shoals, Clarke Central, East Jackson, North Oconee, Oglethorpe County and Walnut Grove are set to compete. Wrestling begins Friday at 5 p.m. and again Saturday at 9 a.m.