The Banks County High School varsity wrestling Team traveled to the toughest individual tournament in the state this past weekend. The Sham Slam at Habersham Central High School in Mt Airy. Then came home last Tuesday to celebrate Senior night against Hart County, East Jackson and Clarke Central.
The tournament consisted of 28 teams from all classifications and included several team state champions, including Jefferson and Archer.
"We knew that this tournament would be very difficult, and that is exactly why we chose to enter it,” head coach Kasey Hanley said. “We know that to get better, we have to wrestle people that are better than us. We are preparing ourselves for the individual state tournament."
The focus of the team is not on winning a dual match for the rest of the season, but preparing each wrestler to try to win an individual state championship. Banks County High School has had only one individual state champion, Shane Jones in 1989.
"The highest seeded wrestler we had in the Sham Slam was a 4th seed,” Hanley said. “Several of the weight classes had defending state champions, state medallists and state qualifiers from all classifications. A top eight finish at this tournament would be a very good finish."
The Leopards finished in sixth place with 130 points.
"I thought that for the most part we wrestled really well," said Hanley. Archer finished in the top spot with 273.50 points, Jefferson second with 204 points, Collins Hill third with 199.50 points, Carrolton fourth with 186 points and North Gwinnett fifth with 141.50 points.
Eli Smallwood placed third, which should be a huge launching pad entering area competition next week. Mason Patton and Francisco Hurtado both placed fifth, Taylor Wood placed sixth. The team had several wrestlers finish in the eighth place spot. Area will be February 1st and 2nd in Elbert County.
Senior wrestlers Eli Smallwood, Taylor Wood, Mason Patton, Rayshawn Hunter, Francisco Hurtado, Hayden Dilbeck and manager Tori Smallwood walked with their parents in celebration of their accomplishments over the past few years with the Leopards wrestling team. Each member was given a rose to give to their mother and a medal for the time they have spent with the team.
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