The 40 Heritage High School wrestlers that make up the Generals wrestling team are the best in the state.
The team won Georgia AAA state traditional champion status after recently pinning three-time defending state champion Gilmer County at the competition in Gwinnett County.
"To be a state champion you put work in," said Heritage head varsity wrestling coach Kenny Hill. "This took five years to do. The guys trained as a group since eighth grade. Good things happen to those that work hard."
Hill said the wrestlers run through drills throughout the season from November through February for training. The team's current season record is 39-4.
"Most of them wrestled year-round, which helped tremendously," said Hill, who was a four-time state champion wrestler in his wrestling days prior to coaching. "We have the dungeon downstairs and the weight room upstairs for training. We can fit two full-size mats in our wrestling room."
Hill said two-time state champion senior wrestler Landon Reed received a scholarship to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to wrestle beginning this fall. He said fellow wrestlers sophomore Austin Frye, junior Michael Moore and senior Andy Bratton also shined in the state matches. He said equally great senior wrestlers Logan Perkins, Jacob Tripp and Madison Martin are interested in college wrestling too.
Losing nine senior wrestlers, Hill said he expects to start Frye, Moorel, Charlie Morgan and Justin Locke in the fall.
"We've got a good group of wrestlers coming back," said Hill. "We would love for someone to donate mats to us. Our mats are four years old and UTC always asks to borrow our mats and we oblige them."
Youth tournaments run on the mats also, since Heritage is home to Team Heritage Youth Wrestling program for ages 5 to 13. The USA wrestling-based program instills the love of wrestling in youth to train young future state champion wrestlers. Heritage lead assistant varsity wrestling coach Mike Craft also coaches the youth team and welcomes area youth to join the program.