Wrestling falls in first round of state championship

The+wrestling+team+started+the+season+with+eight+athletes.+However%2C+after+getting+hit+hard+by+the+COVID-19+pandemic%2C+the+team+was+only+able+to+send+two+of+them+to+the+Georgia+High+School+Association+Traditional+Wrestling+State+Championship.

Courtesy of Joshua Crowder

The wrestling team started the season with eight athletes. However, after getting hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team was only able to send two of them to the Georgia High School Association Traditional Wrestling State Championship.

Cole Parker

After experiencing an unprecedented season filled with adversity, the wrestling team defied all odds and qualified for the Georgia High School Association Traditional Wrestling State Championship, which occurred on Feb. 9-13 at the Macon Centreplex.

With a dramatically downsized roster, the team sent two wrestlers to compete in the tournament — sophomore Liam Doherty and junior Elijah Francis. Despite giving it their all, the Knights lost in the first round.

“They did very well considering the circumstances that they were under,” said head coach Joshua Crowder.

Going into the tournament, Crowder had realistic hopes.

“To be completely honest, I expected a lot of physical effort from them, but I wasn’t expecting them to go very far specifically because they were first-year wrestlers,” Crowder said. “I don’t believe that they were at a state-level of competition.” 

Regardless, Crowder is pleased with what Francis and Doherty accomplished this season.

“They had grown a whole lot throughout the season,” Crowder said. “I’m personally ecstatic that they qualified because that’s a lot for somebody — especially as a first-year wrestler — to even qualify for state.”

Francis individually recognizes his growth as a wrestler during the past couple of months.

“I’ve improved tremendously,” Francis said. “Wrestling has made me more athletic. I feel like I did great.”

Moving forward, the team plans to place greater emphasis on mastering the fundamentals of wrestling.

“The biggest thing that we could work on is technique,” Crowder said. “I feel as though we had the athletes, and they were ready to perform physically. We didn’t have the technical foundations and the ability to build off of those foundations nearly as well.”

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