The Jackson County wrestling team proved itself against some of the larger-classification teams in the state as a strong duals season continued.
The Panthers went 4-1 at the McEachern Warpath Duals Saturday (Nov. 23) to finish third in the event.
Jackson County, now 12-1 on the year, opened with a 55-24 loss to Class AAAAA defending state champion Woodland and then won four-straight matches over Class AAAAAAA schools, beating Woodstock (46-31), Hillgrove (54-27), Grayson (72-7) and Lambert (48-26).
Panther head coach Jason Powers said he knew Woodland would be a tough match early.
“For us to grab them right out of the gate, it meant that more than likely we were going to have to respond to a lot of adversity really, really quickly,” he said.
And his team was up to that task, going unbeaten the rest of the way. Powers pointed in particular to the win over Lambert during the placement round.
“We started at a good spot in our lineup and did a lot of damage up top before they rolled back around to the bottom,” he said. “I felt like our lightweights did extremely well against them as well … The Lambert match was one of the better duals we’ve put together as far as heavies and lights going at it.”
Individually, Aiden Giroux (182), Tyler Wester (195) and Ramon Castillo (113) went 5-0 in their respective weight classes. Kaden Andreasen (170) and Nathan McArter (138) went 4-1.
Jackson County was coming off home wins over Stephens County (66-15), Flowery Branch (68-18) and Eastside (74-6) at home last Wednesday (Nov. 20).
The team was scheduled to wrestle Tuesday (Nov. 26) at Madison County but results were not available at press time. Jackson County will then be off until it hosts the Dec. 6-7 Panther Invitational.
“I’m pleased with the way we’ve started,” Powers said. “It’s just a start, though. We’ve got a lot of stuff we’ve got to continue to get better on every day at practice.”
The coach said the seniors in the upper portion of the lineup will have to continue to provide bonus points in matches. Meanwhile, wrestlers in the lower part of the lineup are settling into their roles.
“I think we’re going to end up being a really, really good dual team, which is what we kind of planned on to begin with, and probably just as strong, if not stronger, traditional team with some of the kids we have in our lineup,” Powers said.