Phase I: Complete
The Gilmer Bobcats rolled through the Region 7-4A traditional wrestling tournament and left no doubt as to who was the top team.
Gilmer advanced 11-of-14 wrestlers to the finals last Saturday in Jasper and seven Bobcats were victorious. Along with one third-place finisher, Gilmer captured the traditional region title for the 12th consecutive season and qualified 12 wrestlers for this weekend’s Class 4A West Sectional.
“We’re happy to come out with the championship,” said Gilmer coach Sam Snider. “We feel like we had pretty good sportsmanship all day long and our kids were able to work on some things. We see such tough competition throughout the season, that when we come into region, and this is the toughest region in Class 4A, we’re not intimidated by anybody.”
He added, “We talked to our guys (before region) about being more offensive in the neutral position, and they were. In a couple weight classes, we were working on strategies (for the upcoming sectional and state tournaments). We saw two or three things that we think can help us (going forward).”
Gilmer’s individual region champions included seniors, Alberto Perez (120 pounds), Lucas Patterson (132), Ethan Teague (138), Keegan Sharpe (145) and Jake Parker (170), as well as juniors, Matthew Waddell (182) and Levi Seabolt (285).
Remaining sectional qualifiers were region runners-up, Dan Puac (106), Trevor Preece (126), Grant Ledford (152) and Ryan Crump (195), and Jordan Caviness (160), who finished third.
Rudy Andres (113) and Micah Young (220) also attended the event and wrestled for Gilmer, which topped out with 242 team points. Heritage outpaced Northwest for a distant second place, 162.5-149. Ridgeland scored 130 and Southeast rounded out the top five teams with 99.5 points.
At the upcoming Class 4A West Sectional, each wrestler will be entered into a 16-man bracket. Those who finish in the top eight will advance to next week’s traditional state tournament, and Snider hopes to qualify all 12 Bobcats.
“Our expectations are to get all 12 to state, he said. “We’re not sure if we’ll get 11 in the finals or not. We had eight or nine last year in the finals at sectionals. We want to have everyone place in the top four, because anything lower than that will be a struggle at state (the following week).”
The Class 4A West Sectional will be held at the Gilmer High School gym Friday and Saturday. Wrestling Friday will begin at 6 p.m. and continue the following day at 9 a.m.