It was a very productive area tournament for the Banks County grapplers, taking second place in the region and sending 11 wrestlers to the class AA state sectionals this weekend at Jefferson.
Banks finished the area tournament with 163 points for second, trailing region championship Jefferson’s 278 points.
The sectionals will determine qualifying for the traditional state tournament in Macon on Feb. 18-20.
The top eight from sectionals will qualify for the state round. Class AA Sectionals get under way on Friday at 5 p.m. at Jefferson High School. Matches resume on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
Following a strong start at the area tournament, Banks sent 11 grapplers on into the semifinals last week.
“This past weekend at area, the guys wrestled better than they have all season,” said coach Kasey Hanley.
With North Oconee putting six through to the final round and Banks sending two, the battle for the region second place finish came down to Jared Gregory and the 171 pound match.
The senior grappler needed a win to push Banks into the runner-up position, and Gregory delivered with a pin taking the 171 lbs. championship.
Banks’ other finalist, Mason Patton, added another level to his freshman record going toe-to-toe in a tough match with Jefferson’s Kyle Springer in the 103 lbs. match.
“In the time I have been here, Mason has amassed the best freshman record and the highest area finish,” Hanley said.
Banks County qualified 11 of 14 wresters to the sectionals with one area champion, one runner-up, seven third place sports and two fourth place finishes.
Banks will be facing several tough teams this weekend, including host Jefferson.
Jefferson qualified its complete roster of 14 wrestlers for sectionals. The Dragons look to defend their state champion title and are favored for several wins this weekend.
Other local competition for Banks will come from East Jackson, sending five grapplers to the sectionals.
For the complete roster of BCHS grapplers competing at sectionals, see this week's The Banks County News.