The George Walton wrestling team finished its season last month at the GHSA State Wrestling Traditional Championships in Macon with a fifth-place finish. This team tied the 2013 GWA team for the highest team finish in the GHSA state tournament.
The season was an exciting one with several firsts. Locally, the team finished second in the Walton County Duals behind the 5-time AA State Champion Social Circle Redskins. The Bulldogs beat the Redskins head-to-head. However, missing athletes in several weight classes forced forfeits, and the Bulldogs finished second in the county, a first for GWA wrestling. Also, for the first time in program history, GWA placed fourth as a team at Area Duals with only seven team members.
Wrestlers must finish in the top four at the area traditional tournament to advance to the sectional tournament the next weekend. At sectionals, the top six wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the state finals. Five GWA wrestlers qualified for the state tournament, which marks a tie with the 2011 team for the most state placers in GWA history. Additionally, for the first time ever, George Walton finished second in the area tournament behind six-time state champions Commerce High School.
At the state tournament, the Bulldogs wrestled well and improved from last season’s ninth-place finish. Junior Beau Mitchell (126) had an impressive finish after going from not qualifying for state last year to being state runner up this year. Senior Darius Barnum (170) ended last season without advancing to the sectional tournament; this season he finished fifth in the state. Juniors Chris Sperin (138) and Patrick Morris (152) returned to the state tournament for the third time and both were state runner up. And on a very impressive note, freshman Perry Jake Stone (120) placed fourth in the state.
Bulldog wrestlers are already practicing for the 2019-2020 season and are working for an even stronger finish.