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Wrestling: Falcons swoop into county tournament
Hall County Duals
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GAINESVILLEFlowery Branch High wrestling coach Shane Lancaster couldn’t have been more pleased with the way his Falcons opened up the Hall County Duals on Thursday evening at Chestatee High.

Six of seven Flowery Branch grapplers that reached the finals of the traditional format emerged with an individual title. Now the real test begins with the duals battle tonight and Saturday for county bragging rights.

"I am so excited for the guys," Lancaster said. "I am really proud of what we accomplished today, but we also know that we have a long couple of days coming up.

"We haven’t completed all of our goals yet."

Flowery Branch freshman Zach Cannon got the Falcons started, earning an 18-3 technical fall victory in the 103-pound weight class. Falcons’ sophomore Danny Bell added a second victory, defeating West Hall’s Tanner Yates 15-0 in the 112-pound weight class.

"To be honest, my younger wrestlers are the ones who have really impressed me," Lancaster added. "Those guys have the heart and the drive.

"They are the ones who have me excited about Flowery Branch wrestling for years to come."

Lancaster also gave thanks to those who have "set a foundation for the Falcons’ wrestling program" as junior Ben Yu (140), seniors Justin Barfield (145), Corey Johnson (160) and Tom Pennington (215) each earned victories for Flowery Branch.

"Tonight’s win means a lot to us," Pennington said. "Being a senior, I really wanted to go out with a win. Our team has never been as close and as strong as we are now, and I’m just really impressed with the way our younger guys have stepped up."

West Hall seniors Colby Yates (135) and Chan Morris (152) each earned victories by way of pin. The Spartans placed five grapplers in the finals.

Yates, who now stands at 189-23 on his career, jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, pinning North Hall’s Zack Agerton in the second round. Morris followed with a pin of his own with 19 seconds left in the first round of the finals.

"This week I’m doing it for my team," Yates said. "They put just as much effort and time as I do and I just want West Hall to be recognized.

"We are all working for a three-peat."

The Spartans have won the past two duals titles.

Chestatee, who placed three grapplers in the championship round earned wins from freshman Julian Oligar (119) and Conner Comeaux (125).

Johnson got wins from Joey Wirsing (171) and Micah Mills (189).

North Hall’s Nick Quinn was the only Trojans winner in the traditional format.

Gainesville’s Josh Jackson (285) defeated the Trojans’ Seth Hewell in finals.

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