Coming off a Class 3A state championship, North Hall’s wrestling team has started off this season with a bang. The Trojans kept their hot streak alive with a first-place finish in the Hall County Championship on Saturday, winning all but three weight classes and sweeping every classification from 152 pounds to heavyweight.
The team also produced Outstanding Wrestler for Hall County winners in Matthew Glenn for 106 pounds to 145 pounds and Dalton Battle for 152 pounds to heavyweight.
And while North Hall’s regular leaders continued their stellar seasons at the meet, the less experienced Trojan athletes stepping up is what pushed the team over the top of earning it the county title.
“We’re very fortunate this year that our guys competed very well,” North Hall coach David Nichols said. “We had a couple kids that were kind of unexpected in the lineup who were able to get in there that hadn’t been wrestling in our varsity lineup that competed very well for us, so we were very pleased with that.”
Nichols pointed specifically to Christian Contreras and Ali Rogers as less experienced members of the squad who filled in to help get the win. Contreras — wrestling at the 120 pound weight class — went 5-3 on the day after not wrestling in a varsity match all season previously to Saturday. Rogers, a freshman, also went 5-3 at 113 pounds.
“Being a female wrestler is tough in a varsity lineup in a mostly boys sport,” Nichols said of Rogers' performance. “... I was really proud of her.”
Outside of Rogers and Contreras, nearly every other North Hall participant went a perfect 8-0 to win individual state titles. Dawson Thompson went undefeated with eight pins at 106 pounds, while Jacob Pedraza did the same at 126 pounds.
“He’s been great for us all year,” Nichols said of Pedraza. “We expect him to really compete for a state title.”
Damon Cambell was 8-0 with seven pins at 132 pounds, while Glenn kept his season-long undefeated streak alive, going 8-0 with eight pins and winning an individual county title as well as Outstanding Wrestler for Hall County for 106 to 145 pound weight classes.
Hayden Cook was 7-1 on the day, losing only to the eventual state champion at 145 pounds.
“He wrestled a great tournament,” Nichols said. “Just came up a little short.”
North Hall won county titles at every other weight classification — from 152 to heavyweight — with nearly every wrestler from that threshold onward going undefeated at the event.
Cody Smith went 8-0 with seven pins at 152 pounds, while Hunter Adams was 8-0 with six pins at 160 pounds. Dalton Battle won all eight of his bouts, including a county title clinching match against East Hall’s two-time state placer.
The performance was good enough to earn Battle Outstanding Wrestler for Hall County for 152 pounds to heavyweight classifications.
Logan West went 8-0 with six pins at 182 pounds, while Logan Hawthorne was 8-0 with eight pins at 195 pounds. Seth Carlton also won all eight of his matches with pins at 220 pounds. Bowie Eisenberg was 7-1 with six pins in the heavyweight classification, but because his one loss came against an opponent with fewer total wins at the weight class, Eisenberg won the individual county title.
Nichols said that while winning the yearly tournament is certainly an honor, merely competing in it is enough to make the Hall County Championship one of the team’s favorite events of the season.
“We always look forward to competing in this tournament because the camaraderie among the athletes,” he said. “A lot of them train together in various training facilities in the offseason, so there’s friendships there. The guys look forward to all being in the same gym together, and I look forward to seeing all the other coaches. We all respect each other and value the direction that each coach is going with the program. We just look forward to coming together and competing in this tournament.”
Behind North Hall, East Hall was the runner up at the event. Chestatee finished right behind the Vikings to take third place.