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Undefeated North Hall wins second straight Hall County wrestling championship
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Johnson High School's Gabriel Laguna attempts to pin Riverside Military Academy's Russell Bolton during the Hall County duals on Friday at West Hall High School. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Hall County championships

Final standings
1. North Hall, 7-0
2. Chestatee, 6-1
3. West Hall, 5-2
4. Johnson, 4-3
5. Flowery Branch, 3-4
6. Gainesville, 2-5
7. East Hall, 2-5
8. Riverside, 0-7

Weight class champions
106: Allan Jones (6-1), West Hall
113: Michael Rietrib (7-0), North Hall
120: Ronnie Link (7-0), Flowery Branch
126: Ken Flenoy (6-0), Gainesville
132: Will Davidson (7-0), East Hall 7-0
138: Austin Donaldson (5-0), Chestatee
145: Marvin Cunningham (6-0), Chestatee
152: Michael Carew (7-0), North Hall
160: Elliott Raiford (7-0), West Hall
170: Nick Whitmire (6-1), North Hall
182: Isaac Alarcon (5-1), Chestatee
195: Isiah Hale (6-0), North Hall
220: Kash Jones (7-0), Gainesville
285: Pedro Astrada (7-0) Johnson

Most Outstanding wrestlers
Lower weight classes: Will Davidson
Upper weight classes: Elliott Raiford

North Hall’s Stuart Cunningham was unsure how his team would react to competing in this weekend’s Hall County championships.

Turns out his wrestlers were ready to go no matter when they needed to.

The Trojans (7-0) went undefeated over the space of two days to secure their second straight Hall County title Saturday afternoon at West Hall High.

The defending champions lost 12 seniors to graduation this spring, but worked hard to survive difficult matches against Chestatee and West Hall en route to clinching the title in six rounds.

“I’m just so excited for these kids,” said Cunningham, clutching the first-place trophy under his arm. “They really had to strain and they kept working hard and kept surprising me.”

North Hall had to come from behind to pull out wins over the War Eagles (36-29) and Spartans (36-33) in the first matches of each day. West Hall and North Hall both came into Day 2 with three wins, but Sam Rush (120) and Cameron Sykora (126) were able to earn the final crucial pins for the Trojans.

North Hall’s Michael Carew (152) won his third straight individual Hall County championship by going 7-0 at West Hall.

Carew said he has high hopes for the season, despite being one of just two juniors on the roster.

“It looked like we’d have a tough match against Chestatee and West Hall, and we fought hard with them,” he said. “We got a couple of first-year wrestlers who helped us out ... and now we can look forward to a successful year.”

The championships are typically held in mid-January, but were moved to December. The shift meant that many head coaches were still tinkering with their lineups ahead of the weekend’s event,

Chestatee coach Kyle Barr said he didn’t like to not know how other teams were like, but appreciated that his team will face seven fewer matches when it gets closer to the region schedule. The War Eagles finished 6-1, good for second place. Barr’s team won three straight pins at one point to hold off third-place West Hall (5-2) in the final round.

“It’s not what we came here for, but I’m proud of them. We wrestled well all weekend,” Barr said. “I’m glad our guys didn’t fold, they kept going hard all weekend. I think, overall, the tournament was stronger with the depth of the teams.”

Johnson (4-3) finished fourth on Saturday, a marked improvement from last season’s Hall County championships when they went 1-7.

Flowery Branch (3-4), Gainesville (2-5), East Hall (2-5) and Riverside Military Academy (0-7) rounded out the bottom four.

Regional events