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The Chattahoochee County High School wrestling squad got an early test Thursday against one of the areas top wrestling programs in Spencer High School.
The Panthers wrestled in a round-robin format against the Greenwave and the Pacelli Vikings. Chattco de feated Pacelli 69-9, but lost to Spencer 51-27.
After the Greenwave dominated the lower weight classes, earning four pins in the first five matches, the Panthers rallied in the upper weight divisions. C.J. Afoa (182 pounds) Jacob Afoa (195) and Ken Marcus Jews (220) gave Chattco three consecutive pins.
I think Spencer will be No. 1 or No. 2 in our area, Chattco head coach Ed Lovvorn said.
It was a good night for us considering 10 of my starters are first-year wrestlers.
We wrestled Spencer last year and didnt win a match. I think we won four or five tonight. Thats improvement.
Lovvorn said wrestling against Spencer gave his kids an idea of what they need to work toward this season.
Those guys (at Spencer) do a heck of a job, he said. Their kids are respectful and they work hard. Thats one of the programs we want to be like
The match of the night came between two Fort Benning kids who have legitimate expectations of wrestling at the state tournament next February.
Chattcos Jaquan Zeno squeaked out a 10-9 win over Spencers Mikeal Hamilton, a senior transfer from Smiths Station High School (Ala.) in the 145-pound weight class.
Hamilton jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first round, but Zeno came close to ending the match in the second round, receiving three points for a near fall.
Hamilton led 9-7 going into the third round, but committed two stalling penalties, the latter being his third of the match, which gave Zeno three points as he held on for the win.
Both of them were tired, but I think (Zeno) was a little more aggressive and thats what cost us the match, Spencer head coach Robert Sanders said. (Hamilton) just has to get into better shape. I think both of them are pretty evenly matched, but theyll see each other again.
Chattco coaches have touted freshman C.J. Afoa, whose brother, Jacob, is a sophomore, as a potential future star on the football team. He may have a similar future as a wrestler.
C.J. put Spencers Josh Sampson on his back and pinned him within a minute of the first round. C.J. had never wrestled before this season, but Lovvorn said he wasnt surprised by his performance.
Not really, he said. A big part of wrestling at that level is just determination.
Hes athletic and hes a competitor, Lovvorn said. He and the rest of the upper-weights will be the strength of our lineup all year.