Winder-Barrow High School and Apalachee High School wrestlers turned in strong performances during the state finals last weekend in Macon.
The AHS wrestlers finished with 11 overall wins and had some program history made as well.
“To be able to have our wrestlers compete at such a high level is very important,” AHS coach Randy Hill said. “There is a ton of potential for this program. I hope everyone realizes how great this program is doing. That goes as well for the program at Winder-Barrow. Sometimes wrestling is the red-headed step-child and can get overlooked. The success both programs are enjoying has been great.”
Sophomore Sam Hauff became the first female wrestler to earn a state medal for the Mat Wildcat program. Hauff was fifth overall and compiled a 4-2 record.
“Girls’ wrestling is really growing in popularity,” Hill said. “Sam is helping lead the way for us in that.”
Isaiah Skinner (126 pounds) finished 1-2 but his coach said being at state as a sophomore provided him with great experience for the next two seasons.
Bryson Ferguson (145) was 2-2 and finished in the top eight. Hill said Ferguson was in a tough weight division.
Hunter Noblett was fifth at 160 with a 4-2 record.
Winder-Barrow High School’s Chas Ferm was sixth at 160, earning a medal for the Mat Bulldoggs.
“Every one of our wrestlers went out and competed well,” said Winder-Barrow coach Matt Patton.
With the exception of Rousseau O Asu Abang, it was the first time on the big stage for the remainder of the state qualifiers.
Mason Bell (106) showed marked improvement from his first match at state to his second. Patton noted Bell gave “everything he had” during his contests.
Nathan Allen (182), Asu Abang (195) and Jacob Merrifield (285) also impressed their coach with their state efforts.
“Jacob faced a state finalists and Rousseau really should have medaled,” Patton said. “It was great having everyone give their best efforts wrestling in front of thousands of people.”