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Athlete of the Week: Senior spurred Falcons to duals title
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Flowery Branch High wrestler Tom Pennington just scratched another goal off of his lengthy preseason list.

Pennington’s list of goals, which began with the Hall County Duals Championship, include a top-three finish at the upcoming Area 7-AAA Tournament, a spot in the Class AAA State Tournament and an individual state title.

The senior grappler, who wrestles in the 215-pound division, led the Falcons to their first county duals championship last week, going virtually unscathed during the three-day event.

"It was nice to beat somebody that has continually beat you," Pennington said. "It just so happens that we had the chance to beat West Hall my senior year.

"This was just a major step that’s going to help those younger guys out when they are in my spot as seniors."

Pennington was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler in the 145-pound division and up, finishing 7-0 with all of his victories coming by way of pin.

"It meant a lot (to win the award)," Pennington said. "But not as much as it did to win Hall County as a team.

"I know the guys look up to me, so I just try to be the best I can."

According to Falcons coach Shane Lancaster, Pennington prefers to lead by example, rather than vocally.

"(Tom) is one of those guys that we count on to get us six points every time," Lancaster said. "He’s one that the younger guys will look to as far as seeing the example, not necessarily listen to.

"Tom just really shined for us this past weekend."

Pennington credits his work during practice as part of his success.

"I tried to stay focus throughout the week," he said. "I talked with my teammates and told them to stay focused and everything just kind of fell into place."

The senior hopes that the Falcons conclude their season with a splash.

"I’d like for us to at least finish in the top three (at the Area 7-AAA Duals) this weekend," Pennington said. "But if we send seven or eight to state, then that would be pretty awesome."And me doing my best at state is what I’m really looking forward to."

Flowery Branch will participate in the Area 7-AAA Duals at Gilmer High on Friday and Saturday.

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