Last season, the Commerce wrestling program made Georgia high school wrestling history by advancing all 14 wrestlers into the finals.
The team fell short of claiming all 14 individual state crowns. But, it did claim 11 and its third-straight team title.
This week, the Tigers are looking for their fourth-straight team title as 13 wrestlers advanced from the Class A-B Sectional tournament and are headed to Macon for the state tournament.
Eleven wrestlers finished first in their respective weight classes: Tucker Flint (120 pounds), Kole Burchett (126), Dalton Flint (138), Jake Brewer (145), Nick Patrick (152), Owen Brown (160), Chase Forrester (170), Mitchell Patton (182), Cole Chancey (195), Knox Allen (220) and Cade Ridley (285).
Dakota Moon (106) and Austin Black (132) finished third and fourth, respectively, in their weight classes.
“I thought they wrestled pretty well for us just like any tournament,” head coach Kendall Love said. “I told the guys (on Monday) I felt like we lost a couple that we could have won.
“But, that’s going to be the case in about every tournament we go to. All in all, I felt like they wrestled hard. They wrestled tough. To come away with 11 sectional champions is a pretty good deal. That sets them up pretty nice for this coming up weekend at state.”
Dalton Flint is trying to do something “special,” Love said about the state tournament. He’s competing for his fourth-straight individual state title.
If he succeeds, Flint would join Chance McLure (2011-14) as the only Commerce wrestlers to achieve the feat. Only 32 wrestlers in the history of Georgia high school wrestling have accomplished the feat.
“He’s got his hands full,” Love said. “He knows it. We (the coaches) know it. He’s got a couple of really tough kids in his bracket.
“We’re sure he’s going to wrestle hard and see what happens.”
Flint’s historic run starts against Trent Morris of Treutlen High School.
Love said the team as a whole is going to “keep doing what we do” as state approaches.
“Mentally, we’ve got to stay focused. We’re doing well against all the competition right now,” Love stated.
He believes the A Sectional teams are “tough” teams, which includes Turner County, Irwin County and Trion.
“State tournament, this year, is definitely a lot deeper and tougher than it was last year,” Love said. “So, I just want our guys to stay focused and have the right mindset going in.
“They’ve worked hard all year. They need to prove it to everybody this weekend.”
Class A hits the mat at 10 a.m. Friday. The state tournament is held at the Macon Centreplex.