Though it wasn’t reflected in their seventh- and eighth-place finishes in the 10-team tournament, Creekview’s John Judkins and Sequoyah’s James Sanchez felt that they achieved positive results.
“The best thing to do for kids that are young is to get them out there on the mat and get them wrestling,” said Sanchez, whose Chiefs were hosting the event. “The great thing about a dual tournament is that, rather than an individual tournament, you are guaranteed matches. (On Saturday), our kids were able to work on improving their skills as the day went on, and you saw progression from our team. I’d say we had a positive performance.”
Creekview assistant John Judkins echoed similar thoughts as Sanchez.
“To come in right before the region duals and get some matches in for our JV kids against varsity wrestlers is exactly what we needed,” Judkins said. “I told our guys that, at some point, something is going to happen, someone may get injured, and you are going to be in the varsity lineup. Some of them will have to step up.”
Judkins was coaching a split-squad of Creekview wrestlers, with a unit of the Grizzlies’ top athletes competing at an event in Chapel Hill, N.C.
With a squad that was missing wrestlers in seven of 14 weight classes, Creekview found itself on the losing end of every match in Pool A.
After losing to Wesleyan 42-24 in their opening dual, the Grizzlies fell to Hiram 51-24 and then to eventual tournament champion Mountain View 60-9 to finish at the bottom of their group.
After River Ridge withdrew from the tournament Friday, Creekview emerged as a fourth seed, and wrestled the fourth-place finisher from Pool B, which happened to be Sequoyah.
After falling to West Hall 53-16 in their first match of pool play, the Chiefs scored their only victory of the tournament over Mountain View’s “B” squad 42-24.
A 43-6 loss to eventual runner-up North Paulding, and a close 42-30 loss to Centennial followed, ensuring that the Chiefs would wrestle the Grizzlies.
Despite losing five individual matches by forfeit, Creekview put together a strong performance to defeat beat Sequoyah 36-30 and end the tournament on a high note.
After Creekview’s Jacob Hewgley quickly scored a pinfall over Sequoyah’s Logan Honea just over a minute into the match at 182 pounds, seven forfeits followed — two by the Chiefs and five by the Grizzlies.
With Creekview then down 30-12 and only five weight classes remaining, it needed to win every match left to tally its first dual win of the day, and that’s exactly what it did.
After Kyle Merenda pinned Rafael Arreola midway through the second period at 138, Edward Sweatt won a comfortable 8-3 decision over Chase Bagwell at 145 that saw Sweatt in control for the majority of the match.
Coda Stewart then shut out Thomas Fink 5-0 at 152 to draw the Grizzlies level on points with the Chiefs with one match remaining.
The final match at 170 never seemed to be in question, as Creekview’s Jack O’Donnell racked up 11 points in the first two rounds in comparison, to Logan McIntire’s three, before pinning McIntire 31 seconds into the third period to give the Grizzlies a 36-30 win.
“We had to come out on top every match that we wrestled if we wanted to win, and we did it,” Judkins said of the final dual. “It worked out well for us.”
Creekview will next travel to Wednesday’s Bulldog Slam at Cedartown for one final warmup before the weekend’s Region 7AAAAA duals at Pope. Sequoyah will be off until the region tournament.