Panthers finish fourth in Area Duals

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A first place finish was the ultimate goal for the Jackson County wrestling team but they also accomplished a top four finish. Kelly Crump/For the Paper.

The rights to compete for the State Duals title came down to the wire for the Jackson County Comprehensive High School wrestling team. In the consolation finals, JCCHS fell to North Hall High School 42-30, yet its road to the finals was worth the trip.

“I am proud of our team for finishing in the top four. It was our ultimate goal to make it to [the] State Duals which required a top two finish but we at least made it our goal to finish in the top four.

“We have been in the top four at Area Duals for over six years and we did not want to lose that streak,” stated Head Coach Jason Powers.

Jackson County found themselves in the bracket of 16 teams and the first team standing in their way was West Hall High School. Yet, the Panthers notched a close 40-32 win to move on to the quarterfinals. JCCHS moved past Buford 47-30 but Banks County got the best of JCCHS in the semi-finals. The Panthers rebounded with a 40-28 win over White County High School.

While the Panthers came up just short of a chance to compete in the Macon Coliseum, they continue to see their stock rise and are steadily becoming one of the more dominant teams in its region.

“Overall, I am proud of our kids but we have to make it a goal to make it to [the] State Duals next year and that work begins now; [we] will not end until this time next year,” Powers stated.

The Panthers battle against North Hall turned into a slugfest; JCCHS established a routine of rebounding when one took the fall yet it turned into their Achilles-heel and made them vulnerable in a significant match.

“In each match we had individuals [that did not wrestle at] their best, but someone else on the team would step up and make a big win. We kept bailing each other out and that is important in duals. However, [that] is ultimately what cost us the match against North Hall,” Powers said.

“We had to wrestle our best at each weight class and we didn’t. We lost a couple of matches that we should have won and lost a couple of matches by pin that we shouldn’t have [been] pinned in. That cost us the match. We won seven matches with North Hall and we lost seven matches; we just lost all of ours by pin with the exception of one forfeit. You can’t win dual matches doing this,” said Powers.

Conner Andreasen and Daivon Ledford went undefeated while Evan Breakspear, Lane Robertson and JT Wood finished 3-2. The Panthers will return to the mat at Alcovy High School on Jan. 18-19. The meet will start at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18 and 9 a.m. on Jan 19.