In their own backyard, the Clear Creek Middle School Bobcats garnered third-place recognition in the state last Saturday, at the 2015-16 Georgia Middle School State Traditional Wrestling Duals at Gilmer High School.
Meanwhile, the Pickens County Middle School Dragons battled throughout the day, finishing eighth in the state in the process.
Clear Creek overcomes championship semifinal loss
The Bobcats started the day with a dominant 69-15 victory over the Cartersville Hurricanes. Round two pitted CCMS against the West Jackson County Panthers, where the Cats came away with a 65-21 win. In the quarterfinals, Clear Creek knocked off the Banks County Leopards 57-12.
However, the road to the state championship was abruptly halted in the semifinals by eventual state champions the Cass Colonels. The Bobcats dropped the dual 58-25 to fall to the consolation bracket.
Thanks to a clutch pin from 118-pound Caleb Waddell that clinched a 38-36 victory over the Jefferson Dragons in the consolation semifinals, Clear Creek was pitted against the West Laurens Raiders in the third-place dual. Still riding the wave of momentum from the Jefferson victory, the Bobcats downed the Raiders 51-30 to take third place at state.
When asked about his feelings on the Clear Creek third-place victory, head coach Walt Monroe said, “It feels great, because this group has come so far since last year. They’ve really started believing in what we’ve been coaching and teaching. We’ve had some adversities throughout the year, but they’ve really started to catch on and I’m excited about this group.”
Clear Creek finishes the season with a 19-1 dual record.
Pickens fights to eighth-place finish
The Dragons fell in their opening dual to the Tift County Blue Devils. However, Pickens proceeded to build momentum in the consolation bracket. After knocking off the Commerce Tigers 60-36, the Dragons bested Banks County 57-12.
West Laurens stopped the Pickens surge, with a 56-30 victory over the Dragons in the consolation semifinals. The battle for seventh-place pitted Pickens against the Calhoun Yellow Jackets, a dual that the Jackets won by a slim 37-36 margin.
“The big thing is, last year, we got in the top 10 and didn’t place. This year was a big step forward,” said Pickens coach Brandon Tippens after the tournament. “I’m really proud of how the kids did. They got down, but they wrestled back and didn’t hang their heads. Overall, we’ve had a great year and a bunch of great kids.”