The Georgia High School Association announced the sites for the postponed state traditional wrestling tournament Friday afternoon, electing to hold separate events next week for each of its six classes.
As a result, area teams in three of the tournaments must travel farther than they would have if the event had been able to go off as planned this weekend at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.
Defending Class A state champion Gordon Lee has to travel to Commerce High School, which happens to be the pre-tournament favorite after running away with last month's duals title.
The Class A-AAA tournaments will be held next Saturday only, while AAAA-AAAAAA will have Friday and Saturday events due to larger fields.
"I'm certainly not very happy about it and a lot of the coaches I've talked to aren't thrilled with their choice, but we have to do what they say," said Gordon Lee coach Brent Raby, who had submitted two neutral sites as Class A possibilites: the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton and the Darlington School in Rome. "I talked to [GHSA officials] yesterday and they said they would get back to me, but I never heard from them."
The AAAA tournament will be held at West Laurens High School near Dublin, where Region 7 rivals Gilmer County and Cass are expected to battle for the team title and where several northwest Georgia wrestlers are expected to contend for individual championships. The smaller venue does have its advantages, according to one area coach.
"I like having state at an individual high school," Southeast Whitfield coach Michael Herndon said. "You miss seeing all of the best of the best, but when you're in the finals, you're the only match in the gym. All eyes are on you. I'm confident West Laurens will make it memorable for these wrestlers."
The Class AAA tournament, where Sonoraville will take a strong contingent, will be held at Buford High School, while the AA event has been moved to Toombs County High School.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...