The Colquitt County middle school wrestling played host to Lowndes Middle School in its season-opener on Thursday at the Pineland gymnasium and dropped a hard-fought, back-and-forth match 60-54.
The two teams were tied 54-54 heading into the final match and lost by a pin at the end of the first period.
The Packers got out to an early lead with impressive pins by Onxy Bell, John Lewis and Saul Antonio.
The next two Packer wrestlers losing by pin were Quan Alleyne and Enrique Aguilar. Amari Lewis and George Zeanah got the momentum back on the young Packers side with back-to-back pins.
Again the momentum swung back to the Vikings when Jaden Merritt, Caleb Ashley and Alejandro Sanchez each lost by pin.
The match was back and forth from there.
Alex Henry won by pin and Joshua Young battled hard but was pinned in the third period. Griffin Simmons battled hard and won by decision.
Gage Kent fought hard and pinned his opponent late in the third period. Shelby Burnette and Chris Dixon lost by pin; Coy Kirkland won by pin; Kolby Waldon lost by pin; Nicholas Schneider won by pin; and Jacob Gara lost by pin.
“Coach (Greg) Yarbrough and I are very pleased with how we matched up with Lowndes,” said coach Kevin Sumner. “They have a very good program. We are very young with only three returning starters.
“But we have some athletic kids. They just need to continue to work hard and learn the concept of wrestling. It’s all about position and mental toughness. When they catch on and learn the sport we will be hard to beat. They are quickly finding out that wrestling is the toughest sport they will ever participate in. It takes every ounce of effort you have and if you relax for just a second your opponent will score.”
Sumner said the team had a good crowd to support.
“That was very nice to see,” he said. “The kids work very hard and they deserve the support from the community. We hope this continues throughout the season.”
The middle school team will wrestle Lowndes and Tift County at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Lowndes Middle School.
The Colquitt County varsity wrestling team will open its season today in the Crisp County Cougar duals in Cordele.
The Colquitt County varsity’s home-opening matches will be on Thursday, Dec. 1, when the Packers play host to Monroe, Westover and Dougherty at 5 p.m. iat the Pineland gymnasium.