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Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Chattooga senior wrestler Luis Medina celebrates his 26-second pin of Dade County's Ian Howell in the Class AA 285-pound state final during the GHSA traditional tournament Saturday in Macon, Ga. The Indians swept the classification's team state championships this season.

MACON, Ga. — Chattooga High School wrestlers finished their season in dominant fashion as senior 285-pounder Luis Medina let out an enormous roar after pinning his way to victory in just 26 seconds to repeat as state champion.

For the first time in program history, the Indians swept the GHSA Class AA team titles. After winning the state duals championship last month at the Macon Centreplex, they rolled to the traditional tournament crown Saturday at the same site and set a program record with five individual champions.

One of those was 145-pounder Mason Sterner, a 5-1 winner in the finals. After his hand was raised, the senior celebrated his first individual state title with a special embrace.

"Immediately after I won, all that was going through my mind was my mom," Sterner said. "She was just diagnosed with cancer a few weeks back, and I was doing this all for her. I ran up to the crowd right after, and I had to give her a hug. I love her, and she means so much to me."

With all seven GHSA classifications competing at the sold-out Centreplex, a dozen area wrestlers won individual titles and Class AAA's Sonoraville — after losing to North Hall in the state duals final — secured its third straight traditional championship.

The Phoenix edged North Hall in team points, 194.5-189.5, and had three champions: 126-pound Eli Knight, who finished a 27-0 season, 170-pound Jebb Knight (25-3) and 195-pound Charlie Brown (37-1), who held on for an intense 1-0 victory over Jackson County's Tyler Wester in the finals.

"As tough as this sport is, I will always love it," Sonoraville senior Hector Arbos said. "We came out and put it all on the line. I think people will remember us as one of the best teams ever in school history. We wouldn't have done this without our coaches. They always push us to be the best we can be."

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2020 GHSA wrestling state traditional tournament

Chattooga's Griffin Jarrett, battling a sore knee and sporting a black eye, beat Spencer's Malik Hardy 10-5 in the 113-pound final to win his fourth straight title.

"I set this goal a long time ago, and to win a fourth title is so amazing," said Jarrett, who was 49-3 as a senior. "All I could think about walking out here was our team's theme song, which starts, 'I can feel it coming in the air tonight.'"

"I love this team, and it means a lot to be the most dominant class in school history. I was happy for all of our guys. Mason's win really got me emotional, too. It was awesome to see him and everyone enjoy what we were all able to do together this season."

The Indians finished with 190.5 points — a whopping 73 more than runner-up Oglethorpe County.

Chattooga's other individual champs were 120-pounder Wes Conley (32-2), who went from leading by a point to winning 10-5, and 220-pounder Alex Mears (47-2), who battled through a tiebreaker to triumph 8-3. The Indians' five champions have a combined dozen individual state titles in their prep careers.

Medina, who lost just once in 41 matches this season — to Class AAAAAAA champion Dylan Fairchild from West Forsyth — pinned his way to all three of his victories in Macon. The only other local champions to also win every one of their matches at state by pin were Dalton 106-pounder Cole Hunt, who won all four of his AAAAAA matches in the first period, and Dade County 132-pounder Cayden Cooper in AA.

Cooper finished his title run with a pin in 1:09, coincidentally the same amount of time it took for Dalton's Hunter Noland to win by fall at 138 pounds. Noland, a junior, was the 126-pound champion in 2019. Cooper's teammate Dakota Johnson (160) also placed first to help the Wolverines finish third with 113 points.

Trion, despite having no individual champions, just missed sweeping the Class A team awards. The Bulldogs beat Commerce for the duals championship last month, ending that program's run of six straight titles in the event, but Trion was edged by the Tigers for the traditional title, 159-157.5.

Chattooga's Jakoby Cottrell (170) and Ty Veatch (195) finished second, and all of the Indians who contributed points helped put a stamp on the dominant showing.

"This is what they have worked for since October," coach Brian Beasley said. "Even those who fell short, all the points scored were big to us. All of our guys are happy for each other. They are such a tight-knit bunch, and it really was a fun season and everything we could have dreamed of."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

 

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