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North takes top honors at South tourney
Rob Morin and the South Forsyth War Eagles played host to the Santa Slam tournament. Here, Morin clamps down on an opponent from Benjamin Russell High School in Alabama. - photo by Jared Putnam
Regardless of what Christmas morning brings, North Forsyth's wrestling team has already helped itself to a pretty nice gift, running away with the title of the Santa Slam tournament, held at South Forsyth last week.

North Forsyth finished at the top of half of the 14 weight classes, with seven Raiders winning their respective eight-man brackets on Saturday.

North finished with 279.5 points, easily topping Benjamin Russell High from Alabama, who finished second with 184.5 points in the two-day event.

Host South came in fourth among 12 schools, with 157.5 points.

North coach Travis Jarrard said his team looked a little sloppy during Friday's round-robins, but came out with a vengeance on the second day of the event, when bracket play was held.

"We definitely did well. I was pretty happy with them," Jarrard said.

"They wrestled hard. ... They were scrappy throughout the whole tournament. ... I almost felt bad telling them they had to come to practice [Monday]."

All told for North, Dylan Cross (103 pounds), Tristan Bourque (125),  Ryan Cross (130), Chris O'Connor (135),  Alex Lanier (140), Elliot Bourne (160) and Zach Wilson (171) brought home first place honors.

Brian Kennedy (189) finished second in his bracket for the Raiders. Other top-four finishers for North were Chris Ray (145) and Jesse McWhorter (215).

With eight wrestlers in the finals, North had already secured the team title, so Jarrard told his guys to use the last set of matches to make a statement — a pep talk that they seemed to take to heart.

"I said, 'You know, we've wrestled good, we've won the tournament. Don't leave a sour taste in your mouth by not wrestling well in the final,'" the coach said.

South saw two guys finish second in their brackets: Ryan Marionneaux (103) and Robert Morin (125). Making top-four finishes for South were Ryan Prisco (112), Michael Nelems (119), T.J. Mrozik (130), Nick Bonet (140) and Devon Polsin (152).

Other schools represented were Chattahoochee, Habersham Central, Jackson County, McIntosh, Marist, Woodstock, North Hall, Central Gwinnett and East Hall.