The Pickens County Dragons have poured their hearts into wrestling this season, and it’s certainly been one to remember. But – it’s not over, yet.
Just one week after hosting the Burnt Mountain Classic, where the Dragons finished 2nd overall, the team came together to hit the mats with a lot more on the line this time than just ‘braggin’ rights. Gilmer hosted this year’s AAAA-Region 6 area tournament, and the Dragons were one of the team favorites coming into the competition,
In traditional area wrestling, the top four individual competitors in each class qualify to compete at the GHSA AAAA Sectionals meet next weekend at Woodward Academy. On the other side of Sectional competition, Jefferson will host Area winners from areas 2, 3, 7 and 8. Jefferson won the team dual state championship last month, their 17th straight GHSA state dual championship. Gilmer County finished 2nd in that tournament.
With Pickens wrestling in what is arguably the most competitive region in the state, the team faced off against rival Gilmer, as well as quality wrestlers from Ridgeland, Heritage and more. The day turned out to be one of the best in school history, with a record number of sectional qualifiers and three traditional area champions: Zack Meadows, CJ Murphy and Michael Burrell.
Dalton Brunner also had a big day, finishing 2nd in his class.
Other qualifiers for the Dragons include Michael Hernandez (3rd) and Joseph Ferguson (3rd), as well as 4th-place finishers Nate Davis, Jared Edwards, Kelley Dover and Sam Stout.
The overall performance by the Dragons varsity wrestling squad earned them 6AAAA Area Runner-up honors, behind defending champion Gilmer High.
TeamFYNSports would like to wish the Dragons wrestling program all the best as they prepare for sectional competition this week!
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The Burnt Mountain Classic took place on Friday night and Saturday at Pickens Co. High School. The Classic comes with high expectations by the teams attending – and although inclement weather forced school cancellations throughout the week – the tournament still lived up to the bill.
Although the weather was rough all week, 15 of 19 Varsity teams that were scheduled came off the buses ready to strap on their head gear and hit the mat. Fannin County was one of 22 varsity teams scheduled to attend but like a handful of the teams who cancelled, they followed the school cancellation schedule due to potential hazardous road conditions.
The acclaimed Gilmer Bobcats varsity squad, who have been living up to their legacy of absolute domination all season long, was originally scheduled to attend as well. After speaking with head coach Josh Ghobadpor about his decision to give his varsity the weekend off, he stated that with the weather being what it was during the week, they hadn’t been able to practice. Rather than put his varsity in a high-pressure situation so close to area and sectionals, Ghobadpor focused instead on taking his junior varsity team to compete in the JV Scramble.
“We tried to get to the gym to train but with ice on the roads we didn’t want to take any chances. This weekend we decided to bring our JV and let them get the extra work in, though. After all the JV is the future of Bobcat wrestling,” Ghobadpor told TeamFYNSports.
As the wrestlers laced up and shook hands, match-by-match the competition began to heat up right away. Pickens, Lumpkin, Creekview, Etowah, Cherokee High, Calhoun, Alcoa, Milton, Sequoyah, Chestatee, Towns, SE Whitfield, Walker, West Hall and River Ridge all came in pursuit of conquest.
With each win or loss, the cream began to rise to the top. While all in attendance had much to be proud of, two standout teams battled for the heralded prize of tournament champions. As the dust (and sweat) settled, congratulations went to the Creekview High School Grizzlies for capturing the crown in the team scoring with 219 points. Narrowly taking the runner up award in the team points was the host: the Pickens County High School Dragons.
On Saturday, the action heated up with the JV Scramble. The young freshmen and sophomore athletes showed up and showed out on the mats with Calhoun Yellow Jackets taking the JV trophy. Individual award winners from Pickens County included: Zach Meadows(113 lbs) 2nd Place, C.J. Murphy(120 lbs) 2nd Place, Joseph Ferguson(152 lbs) 2nd Place Michael Burrell(160 lbs) 1st Place, Tyler Vreeland(170 lbs), Kellie Dover(182 lbs) 3rd Place and Dalton Bruhner(195 lbs) 4th Place.
Other results were not available at the event. Congratulations to all athletes and best of luck in Area Competition and State!
Courtside coverage provided by Reagan Young, TeamFYNSports Reporter
This past Friday at the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the White County Warriors and the Pickens County Dragons traveled to Fannin County for their match up on day two of the tournament. Both teams were coming off of a loss from the first day of the tournament and ready to walk away with a win.
It was a high action and fast paced game from the start. The Dragons made the majority of their points from down low while the Warriors did most of their damage from driving the lane. Dragon post, Seth Bishop, led Pickens in scoring from the block with twenty-one points. Warrior guard, Austin Harris, led his team in scoring with twenty-four points due to his hustle. Warrior post, Austin Rowland, had the hustle on defense to make steals and contribute twelve points for his team. With the Warriors in the lead near the end of the third quarter, Pickens makes a buzzer beater shot to tie the game 17-17.
The hopes were high at the beginning of the second quarter. Both teams had the same chances of winning and were not giving up. The lead went from team to team and it became unpredictable on who would have it next. Warrior, Chandler Harris’s outside shooting came alive which put eleven points on the board for White County. Warriors, Reece Dockery and J. Ben Haynes, also had a good game above the key by each adding five points to White County’s score. The Warriors took a seven point lead over the Dragons at the end of the second quarter by making the score 29-22.
With Pickens down more than they had been the entire game, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams applied heavy defensive pressure on the other by putting a full court press into action. The press resulted in both teams getting steals and adding onto their score. At the end of the third quarter, White County doubled their lead over Pickens with a score of 47-33.
Pickens picked up the pace at the start of the fourth quarter. The Warriors start to put even more defensive pressure on the Dragons and draw fouls. Warrior, Jay Lepkoske, contributed one of his five points from the free throw line. The Warriors also started to have good looks inside which resulted in Kaleb Crane’s overall four points. Warriors, Daniel Rowland and Cooper Turner, followed the trend and each added four points onto White County’s score. However, the Warriors were not the only ones adding onto their score. The Dragons came back at the end of the fourth quarter with a score of 53-53, putting the game into overtime.
The intensity came alive at the beginning of the quarter. Both teams had four minutes to win the game. Pickens finally took the lead that they had been working for the whole game just to have the score tied once again at 63-63, putting the game into double overtime.
Four more minutes were put on the clock as both teams gave the game their all. The quarter was filled with hustle after loose balls, fouls from attempting to keep the other team from scoring, and heart. The back and forth of the game had everyone on their feet as they watched with anticipation. Although both teams played to the best of their ability, the White County Warriors had a 74-67 victory over the Pickens County Dragons.
The White County Warriors win puts their overall record at 9-4 while the Pickens County Dragons stand at 4-9. Catch the Warriors next game on January 2 at 5:45 as they travel to take on North Cobb Christian!
This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats traveled to take on the Lady Rebels. The Lady Bobcats were coming from a win on day one of the tournament while the Lady Rebels were well rested from the bye game that was scheduled on the first day. Both teams came ready to play and were hungry for another win.
It appeared to be an even matchup from the start. Gilmer had the hustle on defense while Fannin had the determination on offense. The Lady Rebels seemed to score the majority of their points off plays. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points with her will to win. The Lady Bobcats made most of their points from driving the lane and playing in the moment. Lady Bobcat, Mallory Kiser, led her team in scoring with nine points due to her grit. Lady Rebel post, Mackenzie McClure, was on fire with her outside shots which put her right behind Stepp in scoring with ten points. Lady Bobcat guard, Taylor Boling, was behind Kiser in scoring with seven points overall. With the first quarter coming to an end, the Lady Rebels were just one point ahead of the Lady Bobcats with a score of 13-12.
The second quarter was back and forth. Neither team could keep a consistent lead for the eight minutes on the clock. The Lady Rebels started to play scrappy on defense and began rebounding. Lady Rebel, Bailey Whitener, got aggressive down low and contributed three points for her team. Another Lady Rebel, Maddie Johnson, got after it and scored five points after getting steals on defense. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, who also put five points on the board for her team. Number twenty-four for the Lady Bobcats, Emma Callihan, put her all into the game and contributed four points for Gilmer. With Fannin in the lead halfway through the quarter, Lady cat Michaela Staley drew a foul and made two of her foul shots. Staley’s two points tied up the game. Gilmer continued to score and further their lead until the end of the second quarter. It was the Lady Rebels ball as the clock was winding down and Reagan Henderson happened to be wide open. Henderson received a beautiful pass down low which resulted in her making a buzzer beater shot and contributing two of her overall three points to tie the game 23-23.
With both teams having the same chances of winning, Fannin found their spunk. The Lady Rebels started to draw fouls from driving the lane. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, drew two fouls from the block and contributed two of her four points from the foul line. However, Fannin was not the only team to draw fouls. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, drew a foul and put one point on the board for Gilmer. As Fannin’s lead extended, Gilmer came alive on the block. Lady Bobcat, Faith Ralston, scored two of her three points from down low. Another post for Gilmer, Jasmine Staley, contributed two points for the Lady Bobcats from under the basket. Gilmer’s lead strayed farther from Fannin’s which resulted in the score being 31-25 at the end of the third quarter.
With Gilmer down by only six points, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams wanted to win and it showed through their hustle and intensity. With Gilmer trying their best to catch up to Fannin, the Lady Rebels tried just as hard to keep their lead. Although both teams had the heart to win the game, one had to lose. The Lady Bobcats played an amazing game, but were five points away from victory. The Lady Rebels 38-33 win over the Lady Bobcats put Fannin in the championship game to be played the next day against the Lady Dragons.
The Lady Rebels win puts their overall record at 7-6 while the Lady Bobcats record also stands at 7-6. Catch the Lady Rebels next region game at Fannin County High School on January 5 against GAC starting at 7:00! Or catch the Lady Bobcats next region game on the same day and at the same time as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!
Now that the regular season has come and gone, post-season GHSA changes start. The 2016-17 football scene could change for several teams. The realignment comes after a vote to make a new region “Super 44” which puts the top schools with 2,000+ kids in one super region. Now this changes everything from 6A to 1A. For every team that moves up or down another team has to do the same. Schools like Buford who have more than 3% of its kids outside the county are forced to move up with the new rules. Fannin and Banks Counties are looking like they will move down to AA, while East Hall, Lumpkin, Franklin and West Hall are moving to AAAA. Dawson County will remain the only 7-AAA team if all this plays out like suggested. It is unclear just yet as to what region Fannin will move to, but when we find out after the GHSA makes the changes later this year TeamFYNSports will keep you updated.
Here is a look at what things could look like next football season. Click Here
Pickens High School Dragonette, Abbey Hardman, placed seventh in the Pole Vault event at the Georgia High School Association’s State Track Meet, Hardman tied for seventh in AAAA with West Laurens’ Kaylee Slade. Both had finals jumps of nine feet.
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has released its official region alignments for all high school classifications starting in 2014, which features change to the Pickens Dragons’ 7-AAAA. (more…)
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has released a list of schools that will are set to move up or down to new classifications come 2014, which is news that directly affects the Pickens Dragons. (more…)