Jaxon Hoetzel led Madison County’s efforts at Lambert this past weekend. His first-place finish in the 182-lb. weight class helped the Red Raiders secure a ninth place finish out of 29 teams at the Hook Em’ Holiday Clash tournament.
Josh Kincaid (126 lb.) and Rowan Smith (138 lb.) finished second place and Hamilton Cooper (220 lb.) finished third place. Four other Red Raiders won at least one match at the tournament. North Hall won the championship and Chatooga finished second.
Hoetzel secured the championship with a second period pin fall victory over Aryeh Mehl from Cypress Lake (Fla.). The pin came with just seconds remaining in the period after scoring a takedown with 24 seconds left.
Hoetzel’s other four wins came by pin fall and his first three wins ended before the first period. He pinned Jake Swart of Denmark in 30 seconds, Fitzgerald’s Drew Moore in just over a minute, and Sequoyah’s Josiah Mann in 45 seconds. He couldn’t defeat Forsyth Central’s Luis Mier in the first period of the semi-finals, but he only needed 22 seconds in the second period to pick up the win.
Kincaid started his tournament with a first period pin fall over Hillgrove’s Khalil Williams. Vidalia’s Hunter Manning and Armuchee’s Cameron Espy proved difficult for Kincaid to put away, but he defeated both on points. Four takedowns, one reversal and a nearfall allowed Kincaid to defeat manning by a major decision 12-4. He defeated Espy by technical fall 20-1 with four nearfalls and three takedowns. Kincaid couldn’t get out of the gate in the finals and lost 7-0 to Pickens County’s C.J. Murphy.
Smith needed three-and-a-half minutes to win his first match, but the result was never in doubt. He pinned Cypress Lake’s Joshua Hargrove before the end of the second period. He already led 14-2 because of four takedowns and two nearfalls. He followed the win with a second period pin fall of Armuchee’s Theodore Chesnut. He advanced to the finals with a 4-3 decision win over H.F. Byrnes’ C.J. Heiselman. The deciding point was an escape at the top of the third period. Smith battled Veterans’ Julian Farber through the second round, but eventually lost by technical fall 18-2.
A pin fall loss to Chatooga’s Alex Mears was Cooper’s only blemish in the tournament. He defeated Denmark’s Arthur Marsden 3-2 in overtime and Dunwoody’s Charles McCown 5-1 in his first two matches. Cooper defeated Vidalia’s Jaylin Burns 4-3 in the consolation semifinals and won third place by defeating McCown in a rematch 13-1. In the consolation finals, Cooper made three takedowns and two nearfalls.
Jace Jachimski (132 lb.) won three matches, all by pin fall. Austin Kearns (160 lb.) won two matches by pin fall. Bryer Autry (152 lb.) and Tristan Poss (170 lb.) each picked up one victory. Madison County scored 122.5 points in the tournament, just 1.5 points shy of finishing eighth place.
The Red Raiders begin wrapping up the dual season this weekend in the Region 8-AAAA Duals at Stephens County High School. The top two teams will compete in the AAAA State Duals next week at the Macon Coliseum.