Creekview was trailing Loganville 33-30 on Friday in the third round of the consolation bracket at the Class AAAAA state duals in Macon, and the Grizzlies needed one more victory to advance to today’s consolation semifinals.
Saragusa, a sophomore in his first year as a varsity wrestler, hadn’t lost a bout in four matches at the state duals, and now his team needed him to win at 220 pounds.
If not, the Grizzlies would be headed home.
“I talked to him before his match and told him how envious I was of him,” Creekview assistant coach John Judkins said. “I knew this was what he had always dreamed of and he went out there and wrestled great.”
Saragusa pinned his opponent to give Creekview a 36-33 victory, sending the Grizzlies into a consolation semifinal against Ware County today at the Macon Centreplex.
“Loganville was a good team and we were very happy to get that win,” Judkins said. “A tie wouldn’t have done us any good because we would have lost the tiebreaker, and Christian didn’t know that. He just went out there and wrestled hard, so it was really exciting to see that pin. He only weighs about 180 pounds, but he’s wrestled 220 for us all season.”
Loganville was the third and final opponent of the day for Creekview, which dropped a close 33-32 decision to No. 2 seed Woodland-Bartow in the championship quarterfinals before beating Southwest DeKalb 35-30 in the second round of consolations.
The Grizzlies are guaranteed of at least a top-six finish at the state duals, their best finish in program history. If they beat Ware County, they would advance to face either Ola or Whitewater for third place.
“Our only two losses this season have been to the Pope and Woodland, and they’re the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in this tournament,” Judkins said. “As a staff, we’ve talked about that close loss to Woodland, and we still feel like we haven’t wrestled our best match yet. We have to get everybody clicking at the same time and we can’t have any down matches.
“I feel like we’re in a good position to finish third. We just need to live up to our potential.”
In its first contest Friday, Creekview trailed Woodland for much of the match and fell behind 33-15 with three bouts remaining. Hunter Smith led his match at 160 pounds and couldn’t get a pin, instead settling for a 5-point technical fall that all but assured a loss for the Grizzlies.
Hunter Udall got a pin at 170, and Woodland forfeited at 182 for the one-point victory.
“We knew Woodland would be tough,” Judkins said, “but we also knew, if certain things fell our way, we could have won. We had our heads hanging on the coliseum floor after that one because we were so close. But we knew we had to come back in the consols.”
Creekview trailed Southwest DeKalb 27-18, but won the next four bouts to take an insurmountable 35-27 lead with one match remaining.
“We were going into the good part of our lineup,” Judkins said. “We might have had a hangover from the Woodland match, but we finally got it together.”
John Cowart’s win at 152 pounds was the springboard for the victory. Smith (160), Udall (170) and Joseph Sorrentino (182) followed with wins that put the match out of reach. Udall trailed 5-0 early in his bout but rallied for a 13-point victory.
“That really fired up the troops,” Judkins said. “There’s a lot of waiting at these duals, so there are highs and lows when it comes to emotion. We’ll need all the emotion we can (today) to finish strong and place third.”