Wednesday night, the Jackets hosted region rivals Pope and Kell. Our first match against Pope was a tough one. The Jackets started off strong with wins from Tyrik Woods (160), Colin Ramey (182) and Darius Burton (195). Going into the turn, we were only down 12-16, but again we had to forfeit 106, 113, 120, and 138, giving up 24 points. It will be tough for the Jackets to stay competitive without depth across all weight classes and the ability for guys to step up and fill in when V starters are out. Our second match was against Kell, who had an equally battered line-up. It was a much closer match that came down to the wire. Senior Ricky Dover (152) sealed the victory with a decisive victory to keep us ahead with a final score of 30-21.
The Jackets competed in the Knoxville Catholic Tournament this past weekend and finished in the top 5 out of 24 teams. This tournament is an annual trip that all the wrestlers look forward to. It's a great tournament with a good level of competition where our newer wrestlers are able to win some matches, and our most experienced run into some tough competition. Top individual place-winners were Ricky Dover (6th-152 lbs), Alex Labarre (4th - 113 lbs), Darius Burton (3rd - 195 lbs), Jacob Speeth (2nd - 138 lbs), Tyrik Woods (1st - 160 lbs) and Anthony Wessels (1st - 170 lbs).
Man of the Tournament goes to Anthony Wessels. He had outstanding early rounds getting through the preliminaries with 3 pins. He drew a tough kid for his semifinals match, and going into the 3rd period, he was down by 2. He scored a late escape, and with 15 seconds left, hit a shot, scrambled and was awarded the 2 points for the takedown with literally no time left on the clock. In the finals, he got an early lead with a couple great take-downs, 2 point tilt and was able to ride out the match for a comfortable 8-4 win earning him his first tournament championship as a Yellow Jacket.
The Jackets headed north for a tri-meet with Creekview and Pickens Co on Wednesday and walked away with 1 win and 1 loss. Creekview physically dominated almost every match, teaching us valuable lessons about how far strength, endurance, and mental toughness can take a wrestler. Sprayberry wins came from Darius Burton (195), Tyrik Woods (160 - Pin) and Jacob Speeth (145).
The second match against Pickens was a different story. Our guys matched up well with the Pickens wrestlers and fought hard for every point and every win. Not including several forfeits, wins came from Ian Taylor (126 - Major), Speeth (138), Ricky Dover (152 - Pin) Tyrik Woods (160 - Pin) Anthony Wessels (170 - Pin) and Freshman Austin Beyers (182 - Pin).
Man of the Match goes to Ian Taylor for his Major Decision over Pickens Co. Ian had great shot defense, and applied relentless pressure on top turning his opponent three times using three different moves. By working hard and refusing to give up, Ian found opportunities to score and put up big points against a tough opponent.
Prior to indulging on Thanksgiving festivities, the Jackets traveled to Hillgrove for their annual dual team tournament. It was a tough field, and Sprayberry was hoping to get out of there with a few wins and some good experience, but after an opening round win over Kell, another upset win over Lassiter, and close win over Hillgrove, Sprayberry found themselves in the hunt for 3rd place and a chance to take home some hardware.
The third place match paired us up against a very tough Kennesaw Mountain team. Sprayberry's lower weights started us off hot with wins by Alex Labarre (120), Ian Taylor (126) and Jacob Speeth (138). Like us, KM was very tough in their upper weights, but going in to the turn, Sprayberry was up by 11 points. Forfeits at 106 and 113 meant we lost by 1. Another perfect example of how every point in every match matters. One more major win, or one pin instead of a TF would have made the difference and completed the upset.
Man of the Match for the day at Hillgrove goes to Tyrik Woods (160/170) who went 4-1 on the day and won an overtime match with a beautiful high-C single to top Kennesaw Mountain and keep us in the chase for 3rd place.