Cat coach Kyle Seeley is taking six wrestlers to the Class AAAAA West Sectional in Allatoona, which begins on Friday at 4 p.m. and continues through Saturday, where the top-eight finishers qualify for the GHSA Traditional Wrestling State Tournament in Macon on Feb. 14-16.
And following a strong showing in Allatoona last weekend for area, Seeley has preached that it only gets tougher each step of the way.
“When I pulled these boys in on Monday, we talked about what’s ahead of us. We talked about that this isn’t like the regular season. This is some of the best of the best in our area, in 5-AAAAA and the west side of Georgia,” Seeley said. “Nothing is going to be easy. There’s not going to be a whole lot of pins. They’re going to have to be ready to go a full six-minute match and work hard and earn everything that’s going to be given to them. There’s not going to be any freebies.”
Tristan Ware recorded a first-place finish at area at 132 pounds, while Maurice McGuire (170) was third and Michael Hurley (106), Josh Ivey (113), Sam Preston (120) and Demetris Flemister (195) all finished fourth.
Ivey and Preston are returning sectional qualifiers from a year ago, with Ivey missing out on a trip to state by two points.
“All we needed was a takedown to win it, so we missed out on that ... He’s very focused this week. I think he knows what’s at stake and what possibly could happen if he goes 0-2 and the reward of finishing out your career and those type of things,” Seeley said of the senior VR veteran.
In a 16-man bracket, the fourth-place finishers from area will face tough opening-round matchups on Friday. With a format of two rounds of wrestling and a round of wrestlebacks scheduled for Friday, some wrestlers will see their season come to an end late that evening. Seeley wants to ensure that none of his half-dozen are in that boat.
“I talked to the boys about, ‘Hey, if you go 0-2 on Friday, your season’s over with.’ That’s why that very first match is very important to get kind of settled in, get the nerves off of your shoulder and be able to focus on that next match,” Seeley said.
And with six Wildcats heading up to Allatoona, Seeley said the goal is for all six to be en route for Macon at this time next week.
“I think they all have a shot. It just all depends if they come out and wrestle hard and wrestle aggressive and wrestle their match,” Seeley said. “We can’t let any of our opponents come out and wrestle their match. We have to make them wrestle ours. That’s going to be a big factor.”