This weekend’s Panther Invitational Wrestling Tournament at Jackson County High in Jefferson featured 24 teams and over 700 potential matchups, but the storyline remained the same as Jefferson High continued its domination.
This year the Dragons placed 11 wrestlers out of 14 classes in the finals, picking up six championships and five second-place finishes.
The Dragons piled up 321.5 points. Gilmer was a distant second at 169. White County and Morgan County got the third- and fourth-place trophies.
Most Outstanding Wrestler in the lower weight classes was Commerce’s Doug Maloch, who won the 125-pound title, 12-8 over Jefferson’s Cam Thurmond.
Two votes were needed to decide the Most Outstanding Wrestler among the heavyweights. That honor eventually went to Jackson County’s Ryan Howe who won the 189-pound title by pinning Jefferson’s Zack Allen.
The highest placing Hall County team was Riverside, which finished just out of the top 10 in 11th place with 88.5. Gainesville wound up 14th, Chestatee 19th and Johnson 23rd.
The highest Hall individual finisher was Chestatee’s Conner Comeaux, who was the 130-pound runner-up to Jefferson’s Cutler Finch, who won via pin. Other local wrestlers who placed included Gainesville’s Dane Hicks, who pinned Riverside’s James Nicholson for third at 125; Johnson’s Aaron Black, who battled back through the 215-pound consolations, only to lose a 3-2 heartbreaker to Gilmer’s James Longino in the battle for 3rd.
Other championship results include Caleb Morris of White County winning the 103-pound title over Cason Thurmond of Jefferson, 7-2; Jacob Akins of Morgan County taking 112 over Isaac Kelly of Jefferson 7-5; Daniel Barber of Jefferson winning the 119-pound class over Gilmer’s Danyuhl Becker with a pin; Adam Pollard of Alcovy taking 135 over Cain Finch of Jefferson 6-2; Jefferson’s Wayne Elliot winning 140 over Travis Knight of Alcovy 2-0; Terry Orange of West Laurens taking the 145-pound championship with a 5-1 decision over Phillip Edwards of Commerce; Kevin Spicer of Jackson County winning 152 over Thomas Spears of Commerce with a pin; Jefferson’s Jay Fowler pinning Ware County’s Maurice Taylor at 160; Jefferson’s Zac Crosby winning the 171-pound championship by pinning Johnny Smith of West Laurens; Patrick Allen of Jefferson winning 215 by pinning Jackson County’s Jacob Hyder; and Central Gwinnett’s Jacob Aiken-Phillips winning 285 with a pin over Jake Smith of Lakeside
Coverage of this year’s Panther Invitational will be featured on this week’s edition of Hall County Sports Television at 9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. next Sunday on Charter Communications channel 23, and on the internet at hallcountysportstv.com.
West Hall goes 2-2 in duals
The Spartans earned wins over Dawson County and Monroe Area on Saturday at the North Oconee Duals in Bogart, while dropping decisions to North Oconee or Berkmar.
Tanner Yates, Logan Herford, Rudy Vazquez, Collins Wright, Omar Lopez and Lee Fyfe had pins in West Hall’s 42-36 win over Dawson County, while Yates, Herford and Fyfe also scored pins in the Spartans’ 52-24 win over Monroe Area.
In a 43-34 loss to North Oconee, Wright and Antonio Ramirez had pins, and in a 51-24 loss to Berkmar, Yates, Herford, Vazquez and Jonathan Aquillaro recorded pins.
The Spartans return to action Tuesday with a home match against Lumpkin County.
Banks County boys 55, Jackson County 50
Chase Armour and Ryan Griffin each scored 14 points Saturday to lead the Leopards to win over the visiting Panthers in Homer.
Banks County (4-1) held a 11-point lead after three quarters and held off Jackson County the rest of the way.
Joseph Smith led the Panthers with 17 points.
On Friday, Banks County got 22 points from Armour and 14 from Kane Duncan in a 70-62 win over Rabun County.
The Leopards return to action with a home game Tuesday against Union County. Girls tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.