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Wrestling: North Forsyth wins area traditional tournament behind six individual champions
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North Forsyth's Cole Tenety, right, grapples with West Forsyth's Jack Woodall at 138 pounds in the Area 5-7A traditional tournament Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. - photo by Lily McGregor Photography

Last year, the North Forsyth wrestling team left the Area 5-7A traditional tournament angry. The Raiders were aiming to win their sixth consecutive championship, and they did in a way, but not in a manner satisfactory to the program’s standards when the event’s final match left North and South Forsyth in a tie.

This season’s tournament was much more enjoyable for North. Behind six individual area champions, the Raiders left no doubt in finishing first with 192 points, ahead of West Forsyth (178.5) followed by South (150.5), Forsyth Central (126.5), Lambert (101) and Milton (86).

“The older kids, the veterans, pulled through today,” North head coach Travis Jarrard said. “They did what they were supposed to do.”

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North Forsuth's Conner Carroll grapples with West Forsyth's Creston Lorenzo at 160 pounds in the Area 5-7A traditional tournament Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. - photo by Lily McGregor Photography

Last season’s disappointing outcome could be explained by the Raiders’ poor showing in the finals, when they went 5-8 in those matches. North succeeded in reversing that this time, going 6-3 with wins from Paul Watkins (126 pounds), Tate Bissell (132), Cole Tenety (138), Conner Carroll (160), Andy Leggett (170) and Brantley Little (182). Connor Cross at 195 nearly made it seven but lost 5-4 in an ultimate tiebreaker with South Forsyth’s Ian Hunt. The Raiders qualified 10 wrestlers in all to next week’s Class 7A State Sectionals.

“We kind of came into this tournament with a bit of a chip on our shoulder because of what happened last year,” Carroll said. “I think that we had more energy, and we were more intense, more focused on getting it done today.”

West qualified the most wrestlers from the county to sectionals with 13 but had just one area champion in Dylan Fairchild at 285. 

Hunt was one of four area champions for South that also included AJ Riner (113), Charlie Ranta (145) and Luis Gonzalez (220). 

Forsyth Central and Lambert had one area champion each in Abraham Perez (106) and Cole Burke (152), respectively. 

At the end, they all processed through the awards ceremony, where it became clear just how much more enjoyable the tournament had been for North. When Watkins went up to the podium for 126, he lifted his first-place medal and a bag of gummie bears that belonged to Tenety. Leggett brought a box of Cheez-Its crackers and ate a handful while parents took photos, unable restrain a smile.

But North hasn’t forgotten the lessons of last season’s traditional tournament. Angered for a moment, the Raiders responded at sectionals and the state tournament with a strong showing. From that experience came proof that one disappointment did not have to lead to another.  

“They took this for what it was,” Jarrard said. “It was an obstacle we had to get through to get where we want to be, but they also know that if you don’t do well here, it doesn’t mean you can’t do well later. That was one of the big things we took away from last year.”

Team standings

  1. North Forsyth 192.00
  2. West Forsyth 178.50
  3. South Forsyth 150.5
  4. Forsyth Central 126.50
  5. Lambert 101.00
  6. Milton 86.00

Area champions

106 - Abraham Perez, Forsyth Central
113 - AJ Riner, South Forsyth
120 - Ben Williams, Milton
126 - Paul Watkins, North Forsyth
132 - Tate Bissell, North Forsyth
138 - Cole Tenety, North Forsyth
145 - Charlie Ranta, South Forsyth
152 - Cole Burke, Lambert
160 - Conner Carroll, North Forsyth
170 - Andy Leggett, North Forsyth
182 - Brantley Little, North Forsyth
195 - Ian Hunt, South Forsyth
220 - Luis Gonzalez, South Forsyth
285 - Dylan Fairchild, West Forsyth

Sectional qualifiers

Forsyth Central (10): Abraham Perez (106), Steven Messer (113), Mikel Stowers (126), Spencer Cummins (138), Sam Aldrich (145), Avery Krippner (160), Hayden Krippner (170), Keaton Platzke (195), Darius Green (220), Jake Gardner (285)

Lambert (6): Lucas Tellion (113), Payton Mitchell (120), Michael Miller (138), Cole Burke (152), Brett Malinowski (170), Will Kohlins (182)

Milton (7): Stephen Solley (106), Ben Williams (120), Khalid Rmeih (126), Nic Bolton (132), Reid Golloher (160), Zack Tumminia (195), Hayes Bicknell (220)

North Forsyth (10): Paul Watkins (126), Tate Bissell (132), Cole Tenety (138), Riley Wheeler (145), Andrew Sexton (152), Conner Carroll (160), Andy Leggett (170), Brantley Little (182), Connor Cross (195), Will Chavarria (285)

South Forsyth (10): Mukhamed Ismail (106), AJ Riner (113), Steven Brauckman (120), Kemran Ismail (132), Charlie Ranta (145), Zach Moore (152), Nick Ramsayer (182), Ian Hunt (195), Luis Gonzalez (220), Trevor Patrick (285)

West Forsyth (13): Cam Westray (106), Sean McElligott (113), Cole Ewing (120), Ethan Rickett (126), Troy Rickett (132), Jack Woodall (138), Adam Galavan (145), Ibriam Eminov (152), Creston Lorenzo (160), Jackson Wells (170), Matt Jacobs (182), Nathanel Gedion (220), Dylan Fairchild (285)