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If the Scott’s Auto Center THE GRIND Championship has taught us anything, it’s that seeds don’t matter.
This is the ultimate fulfillment of the sports axiom, “That’s why they play the game.” Nothing is guaranteed in sports, nor should it be in THE GRIND Championship.
As I looked behind the scenes as the voting played out in Round 2, I thought, What is HAPPENING?!
The array of upsets was so overwhelming and, in many cases, so thorough. More than half of the 16 match-ups in Round 2 were won by lower seeds. In some instances by muuuuuch lower seeds.
So as THE GRIND Championship enters its premier stages, a clear warning has been issued by voters: higher-seed beware! You are not safe!
Here’s a look back at Round 2 and what to look for as voting begins for the Sweet 16:
It was a tough round to be a top 10 seed. Only three survived in South Forsyth boy swimmer Blake Atmore (No. 2 seed), Forsyth Central baseball player Logan Howard (No. 7) and North Forsyth football player Jackson Bardall (No. 9). Nine of the 16 match-ups in Round 2 ended in upsets.
Forsyth Central and North Forsyth athletes continued their strong showings.
Central went a perfect 4-0 in Round 2 as Shaun Diebel (football), Abbey Fagan (girls basketball), Logan Howard (baseball) and Bonnie McKinnon (cross country) moved on.
North went 6-3, which is misleading since there were two all-North match-ups. Either way, the Raiders have the most athletes in the Sweet 16 in Bardall, Caroline Bowns (girls basketball), Lochlain Corliss (girls basketball), Kyle Ellis (mountain biking), Justin Gibson (boys lacrosse) and Keigan Radake (wrestling).
Mobilizing the vote
These five athletes received the most votes in Round 2:
1. Kyle Ellis, North Forsyth 133
2. Logan Howard, Forsyth Central 131
3. Bonnie McKinnon, Forsyth Central 130
4. Bailley Concatto, West Forsyth 126
5. Abbey Fagan, Forsyth Central 118
Here is the number of athletes left in THE GRIND Championship by high school:
1. North Forsyth 6
2. Forsyth Central 4
3. South Forsyth 3.
4. West Forsyth 2
5. Lambert 1
Best Sweet 16 match-ups
At this point, most of the match-ups carry some amount of intrigue, but here are two in particular that interest me:
What exactly are Forsyth Central voters going to do about Fagan and McKinnon? They face off in the Sweet 16, and both have been popular choices so far. Each came in the top 5 in votes in Round 2.
South Forsyth boys swimmer Blake Atmore has another tough challenge in the Sweet 16 after barely edging North Forsyth football player Colton Miller. Now, he has to face another Raiders athlete in girls basketball player Lochlain Corliss. Both Atmore and Corliss received 113 votes in their respective Round 2 match-ups. Who gets more this time?
Brian Paglia is sports editor of the Forsyth County News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 770-205-8976 or follow him on Twitter at @BrianPaglia.