(Macon, GA) – Junior Taron Person and Senior Hank Barnes placed fifth and sixth respectively at the Centreplex in Macon over the weekend at the GHSA Traditional State Wrestling Championship Meet.
One of the most exciting Georgia High School events of the year featured almost 400 wrestlers competing in all six classifications under one the big roof of the Centreplex Arena.
An estimated crowd of over 5000 people witnessed the highs, the lows, and all the drama in between during the meet which lasted all day long Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The Braves finished 22nd in the team results and it was the first time in the young program’s history that two wrestlers placed in the same year.
The competition was especially stiff in AA where the Jefferson Dragons laid claim to their remarkable 13th consecutive championship with 192 points. The Bremen Blue Devils, a fellow Region 5-AA squad finished a strong second with 133.5 points.
In the heavyweight division (285 pounds), Person got off to a hot start when he pinned Eric Wilson of Social Circle in his quarterfinal match Friday afternoon setting up a huge semi-final match versus the two-time defending state champion Joe Bexley of Bremen. It was a tall order of business as the Blue Devil monster came in not only as the two-time champ in Class A but also with an undefeated 51-0 record.
Person wrestled one of his best matches of the season but was best by pinfall at 4:36 of the match. Blexley improved to 54-0 on the season winning a state title for the third time. Blexley will attend the Citadel in the fall continuing his wrestling career at the next level.
After dropping a 7-3 decision to Eric Hester of Toombs County Saturday morning, Person rebounded with a pin over Spencer’s Andre Carter to win the fifth place medal.
In the 182-pound class Barnes also faced some very talented competition in all four of his matches. Barnes scored a decision over Luke Green from Calhoun but dropped his other three matches to wrestler’s from Toombs County, Fitzgerald, and Murray County.
“We took a major step this weekend for Heard County wrestling. We should have placed higher but we got beat on experience and that’s just a part of building a program. extremely proud of all the hard work these two have put in and they have never missed a day of practice. Two state placers is big, but I see it as just a stepping stone to see where we can be in the next few years. We just lack experience, not work ethic or technique, and that comes with not having a youth program or a full middle school season. We have put Heard County wrestling on the map, and now it’s time to get the community and every athlete involved and to put in the extra work to get on that podium in that arena.”~Braves head coach Justin Ransom.