The Banks County High School wrestling team won the preliminary round to advance to the Elite 8 for the 2020-2021 GHSA Class AA Team Dual Wrestling. The team had to face two rounds to make it to the Elite 8.
The team had a lopsided win against Westside-Augusta 66-18. Their next fought against Pepperell with a win of 54-30. This puts the team past Sweet 16 for the first time since 2015.
Coach Kasey Hanley states that the team faced some diversity early on in the season with injuries and COVID-related issues.
“We knew we had to increase our intensity," he said. "Our guys are always rooting for each other, and that intensity is what keeps our team winning”.
He also states the team isn’t satisfied with just making the Elite 8; their goal is to win state.
The team had pins by Jacob Voyles, Elijah Mullins, Kellon Walley, Roman Haynes, Josh Stapleton and Eli Ward. Raymond Bentley, Angel Cruz, and Gabe Howard won by forfeit.
Other key wrestlers have also stepped up during the season, such as Jaxon Mitchell, Zak McClellon, Davis Mitchell, Mason Dodd, Eli Ward and Danny Evans.
Banks will face Lovett in the next round. Lamar County will face Vidalia, Dade will face East Laurens, and Oglethorpe will face Toombs County.
Leopards head coach Kasey Hanley, whose grapplers will focus this week on bringing back that state championship, is confident that he has the team to do it.