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Underclassmen lead North Hall to Hall County Wrestling Championships
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North Hall's wrestling team gathers after winning Saturday's Hall County Wrestling Championships at East Hall High School. - photo by For The Times

Retired wrestling coach Paul White can’t recall any team over the course of his career as young as North Hall’s current bunch.

Yet the Trojans continue to make strides this season, as Saturday’s 32nd-annual Hall County wrestling Championships at East Hall high school was a clear indication that youth should never deter success.

With a group comprised of eight freshmen, four sophomores and two juniors, the Trojans swept this two-day duals tournament. They outscored opponents --Chestatee, East Hall, Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Johnson, West Hall -- 369-85 en route to their third county title in four years and 16th overall in the event’s history.

“There were several good teams and good coaches, and it’s something we always enjoy competing in, and our kids really wrestled the best they’ve looked all year. I was very pleased,” said first-year coach David Nichols, who took over for Stuart Cunningham after last season.

The Trojans opened Friday’s action with a 48-33 win over the defending champion Red Elephants, then finished up Day 1 with wins over Flowery Branch and Chestatee. They topped East Hall, Johnson and West Hall on Saturday to seal the Hall County Wrestling Championship.

Chestatee (5-1) was second, falling to North Hall. East Hall placed third, while last year’s champion Gainesville finished fourth.

Six wrestlers went undefeated for North Hall, with four emerging as Hall County champs in their respective weight classes.

Sophomore Matthew Glenn of the 113-pound division went 6-0 with five pins and one by major decision. Junior John Pedraza won six matches, all by pin, to take the 126-pound individual title. Sophomore Bryson Smith (132 pounds) and junior Taylor Gilleland (145 pounds) were two more to go through the tournament unscathed and finish on top.

Nichols even watched freshmen Jamie Hudson, Logan Hawthorne and Seth Carlton compete in two different divisions before finishing short of individual honors. Hawthorne won all matches by pin in the 182 and 195-pound weight classes. Carlton was undefeated (3-0) in the 170-pound class and 2-1 at 182.

Nichols credited the majority of their recent success to youth coach Matt Whitmire for laying a solid foundation.

“(Whitmire) has done a tremendous job developing these kids, and without the work he did with them and sending us up a quality group of young kids, we wouldn’t been able to do what did,” Nichols said.

List of all Hall County Individual winners:
Kenley Chadwick (106 pounds, Flowery Branch)
Matthew Glenn (113, North Hall)
Danny Franco (120, Johnson)
John Pedraza (126, North Hall)
Bryson Smith (132, North Hall)
Eugenio Manilla (138, West Hall
Taylor Gilleland (145, North Hall)
Mathew McClellan (152, Chestatee)
Blake Nix (160, East Hall)
Everett Fouts (170, West Hall)
Anthony Slater (182, West Hall)
Ricardo Vazquez (195, West Hall)
Anthony Woodall (220, Flowery Branch)
Keith Harris (285, Gainesville)

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