MACON, Ga. — You know you're good when you can walk into a state duals wrestling match wearing coonskin hats and nobody laughs.
Gilmer County showed off the backwoods look Saturday at the GHSA Duals Wrestling Championships, taking the hats off long enough to post a convincing 45-14 title-match win over Alexander. The Bobcats have now won six state duals titles, including the last four.
"At the Pigeon Forge tournament some of our kids saw the coonskin hats and wanted them," coach Sam Snider explained. "Well, we always bring something different here, and that's what they brought. It's a team-unity thing and that's how we won this thing. It took all 14 guys doing their job."
Alexander held a 6-3 lead after three tight bouts, but Daniel Bautista's pin at 120 pounds gave Gilmer a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Cameron Perry followed with a pin, and after the Bobcats lost a decision at 132 that Snider said was a huge moment, Dusty Lacy won an overtime decision at 138 and Jaime Lopez pulled off maybe the match's biggest win with a pin at 145 for a 24-9 lead.
"A couple of places we thought we might win we kept it close, and a couple of spots where we weren't sure we won," Snider said. "They bumped up 126 and I knew we could get a pin. They bumped at 132 and thought they were going to ramrod it, but our kid kept it close, and at 138 they had a stud, but our kid [Lacy] came through with a win. At 145 they bumped up another good kid and I didn't know if Jaime could beat him, but he got a pin."
The Bobcats reeled off five victory in the final six bouts, including back-to-back pins from Jared Sweat and Zach Allen, to win going away.
"It means a lot to us to be the first Gilmer team to win four in a row," Bautista said. "We thought it might be closer, but once we got rolling it was over."
n Earlier Saturday, Sonoraville lost 40-29 to Morgan County in the Class AAA consolation semifinals and Calhoun lost 52-21 to Social Circle in the AA consolation semifinals.
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 ...