A week after placing first in the ultra-competitive Panther Invitational, the Jefferson wrestling team continued its winning ways — though this time in duals action. The Dragons posted a 5-0 record to win the Greensville (S.C.) Fellowship of Christian Athlete Duals.

“There were a lot of good individuals,” coach Doug Thurmond said. “A lot of our guys had some really tough matches.”

Dawson Bates, Mitchell McGhee, Cole Potts, Tanner Thurmond, Will Ballard, Mason Corbett, Chuckie Allen, Caleb Little and Deshon Lester all went unbeaten.

Jefferson opened with a 59-16 victory over North Henderson (N.C.), a team which Thurmond said provided the most competition until his team reached the finals. The Dragons followed with a 75-6 win over Walhalla (S.C.), a 71-8 victory over Sumnter (S.C.) and an 81-0 shutout over Easley (S.C.) to reach the finals, where they beat Belton Honea Path (S.C.) 62-15.

Thurmond noted that several of his wrestlers had faced their Belton Honea Path opponents in out-of-state USA Wrestling tournaments.

“We had a lot of close matches,” he said.

The 15-time defending state champion Dragons now turn their attention to Saturday’s Tommy Warren Duals at Oconee County, where they will face area foes such as the host Warriors and Jackson County.

Jefferson will then head to the Smokey Mountain Duals at Pigeon Forge, Tenn., which will be held Monday and Tuesday.

There, the Dragons will have to contend with programs such as Wilson Central (Tenn.), Commerce, Gilmer County, Lumpkin County and North Forsyth.

“It’s going to be completely loaded this year,” Thurmond said.

Thurmond notes that there’s been an influx of Georgia teams this year with 12 programs from the Peach State set to make the trip.

The veteran coach is pleased with the way the season has started — two tournament wins in consecutive weekends — but warns that the schedule will get tougher.

“It’s fixing to get very competitive, so we’ll see how we do,” Thurmond said.

He is also quick to point out that everything leading up to the duals postseason is a dress rehearsal.

“All of this is just good practice and rehearsal for the main show,” Thurmond said.

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