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Athlete of the Week: Chestatee's Jose Reyes-Lavallee
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Honor Roll

Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Averaged 18 points in two games for the Red Elephants.

Shaquan Cantrell, Gainesville: Scored 23 points in a 91-79 win over West Hall.

Rebecca Webster, Gainesville: Scored 23 points in a 38-29 win over West Hall.

Matt Hollis, Johnson: Averaged 24.6 points over three games for the Knights.

Montrell McKenzie, Johnson: Grabbed a school-record 32 rebounds in a 72-56 loss to Walnut Grove. Added nine blocks in and 13 rebounds in an 80-49 win over Lumpkin County.

Ebo Smith, North Hall: Scored 21 points in an 84-59 win over Lumpkin County.

Maia Booker, West Hall: Scored 17 points in a 52-50 loss to Walnut Grove.

Deasha Beasley, Banks County: Scored 20 points in a 58-54 win over Rabun County.

Rhett McCombs, Union County: Scored 28 points in a 62-60 win over Murphy (N.C.).

Rebecka Merritt, Union County: Scored 22 points in a 57-48 win over Murphy (N.C.).

Emily Crain, Chestatee: Scored 22 points in a 52-43 win over Stephens County.

Morgan Jackson, East Hall: Scored 23 points in a 60-43 win over Dawson County .

J.C. Hampton, East Hall: Scored 22 points in an 87-65 win over Kodiak (Alaska) and scored 39 points with 10 rebounds in a win over Bartlett (Alaska) in the Alaska Airlines Classic Championship game.

Austin Montgomery, Lakeview Academy: Scored a career-high 32 points in a 72-59 win over Athens Academy.

Jacy Ramey, Flowery Branch: Scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded five steals in a 51-41 win over Habersham Central on Friday in Mount Airy.

Kaela Davis, Buford: Scored 27 points in a 60-42 loss to Alpharetta at the Peach State Classic.

McKenna Rushton, North Hall: Scored 17 points in a 51-46 win over White County.

Taylor Handte, Lakeview Academy: Scored 23 points in a 40-38 win over George Walton Academy.

Compiled by David Mitchell



Jose Reyes-Lavallee had faced pressure before, but not quite like he faced last Friday in Macon at the Class AAA state duals.

His team, the Chestatee War Eagles, were making their first appearance at state dual in school history and the pressure to succeed was higher than it had ever been.

“I was nervous,” he said. “I’ve been in those difficult times before. I was at the state tournament individually last year, so I kind of knew what it was like. But, it’s just a bunch of pressure.”

Pressure or no pressure, Reyes-Lavallee was up to the task. The junior, who normally wrestles in the 106-pound weight class, went 5-1 over the weekend to help his team finish sixth in the state.

With his third win of the weekend, he notched his 100th career victory, a school record. After another win in Chestatee’s match with Gainesville on Monday, his total is up to 103.

For his efforts, he has been named The Times Athlete of the Week.

Reyes-Lavallee said that his — and more importantly the team’s — success at state was a memorable experience.

“It was exciting,” he said. “Just exciting to see how all the team’s hard work paid off.”

It was just another highlight for Reyes-Lavallee, who began wrestling in seventh grade.

He noted how much he loved the sport and the work he was willing to put in to be successful.

Outside of the practices and matches, Reyes-Lavallee said he takes part in USA Wrestling and a number of wrestling camps.

He trains constantly, Chestatee coach Carey Whitlow said, often going for long runs before and after practice.

“He practices hard,” Whitlow said. “We’ve got a motto: Perfect practice makes perfect. And that’s what he tries to do. He’s got a great work ethic.”

Reyes-Lavallee explained his commitment to the sport.

“Just practicing in school helps, but you have to put more in outside of that,” he said. “It’s kind of an individual thing for me. I want to prove to myself that I can set and reach goals. It’s like life — you wrestle with things. You either achieve or you don’t achieve.”

But, mostly, he’s achieved.

And even when he does fall short, like his lone loss at the state competition, he takes it as an opportunity to get better.

“It feels good when I lose,” he said. “If I lose, I know I’ve got something else that I can improve on. If I don’t lose, I’m not improving at all.”

Whitlow echoed Reyes-Lavallee’s words, and noted that the experience he and the rest of the team gained at state is a huge boost to the program.

“When people go to state, they win some matches and they lose some matches,” Whitlow said. “But when they come back, they’re a different team. They start to be one of ‘those’ teams. It becomes a standard and an expectation that we can make it and do well.”

And that’s Reyes-Lavallee’s expectation.

With the work that he puts in, he knows his team can be good enough to take that next step in its progression.

“We want to be at state again next year and improve our finish,” he said. “Individually, I’d like to place in the top three at state. But it takes hard work. A champion does things when nobody’s looking. He always does something to get better, and that’s what I’ve got to do.”


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