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Early wins not enough for top-seeded Central
Bulldogs drop final two matches after 2-0 start
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Forsyth County News
ATLANTA — Forsyth Central couldn't convert a No. 1 seed into a state duals berth Jan. 10 at Marist, but coach Marlo Miranda was pleased enough with a fourth-place finish in Area 6-AAAA.

"I'm real happy. The kids are young. You know, we've got a bunch of ninth-graders and tenth-graders in the lineup," Miranda said.

"The Stone Mountain match, if one of the kids doesn't get pinned and we pin one of their kids, we win that match. You know, it's that close. Same thing with the Southwest DeKalb match. It was close, could have gone either way."

The Bulldogs opened up the tournament with a couple of dominating wins in the morning, taking out North Springs 66-15 and bruising Lakeside 78-6.

Come the afternoon, though, things got tougher.

Facing Stone Mountain in the third and final round robin match, Central fell into a 30-3 hole and ended up falling 40-28. The Pirates pinned the Bulldogs at four weights and earned one technical fall.

That result put Stone Mountain at the top of Central's pool and into the championship match against Marist.

Central's 2-1 pool record put the Bulldogs in a match against the other second-place team, Southwest DeKalb.

A win over the Panthers combined with a Stone Mountain victory over Marist would have given the Bulldogs a chance to challenge the host War Eagles for second place and a state berth, but neither half of that equation panned out.

Trailing 34-26 after 11 matches, Southwest DeKalb earned pins at 125 and 130 pounds, followed by a tech fall at 135 pounds to storm back and win 43-34.

Meanwhile, Marist held off Stone Mountain in the finals, meaning Central wouldn't have been able to challenge for second in any event.

Miranda said fourth place in an improved area was still impressive, and said he felt his team was really the third- or fourth-best team in the arena, despite being seeded first.

The Bulldogs lost 17 seniors to graduation after last season, and returned only three starters.

"I'm real proud of them. They've grown up a lot. We've got five or six kids in the lineup that weren't wrestling at the beginning of the year. They'd never wrestled before," the coach said.

David Esbeck was Central's top performer in the area duals. The 215-pounder pinned all four of his opponents on the day.