Top-seeded Woodland overpowered the competition Saturday at East Paulding High School on its way to a 7-AAAAA Area Wrestling Duals title. The Wildcats — who missed the state tournament in a rare occurrence last season — will begin a quest for the state title Thursday in Macon.
Woodland cruised to easy victories Saturday over East Paulding, Carrollton, and Cass to win the region championship. Cass will join Woodland in Macon, however, after a successful day of their own. While Woodland took care of business with easy wins — including a dominant win over Cass in the championship match — the Colonels qualified for state again with wins over Kell 39-24 in the quarterfinals and Hiram in the semifinals. The win over Hiram was impressive. Cass took down the 2nd-seeded Hornets 64-12 to leave no doubt as to which team - in addition to Woodland - should advance to next week’s state tournament. Kendall Arnold (152 pounds) had the best individual day for Cass. He pinned his Kell and Hiram opponents and earned the Colonels’ only bout win against the Wildcats. Noah Hoffmeier was also 2-0 on the day for Cass before sitting out out the championship round against Woodland. Hunter Rees, Ben Mills, Adan Urizar, Arnold, Alex Depasquale, Hoffmeier, Reed Davis, Isaac Linley and Bryce Kresho all had wins against Kell, but Cass coach D.L. Koontz credited Kameron Depasquale's performance against Kell's top wrestler as a key to victory. "Kam (Depasquale) lost his match, but kept their guy from picking up bonus points they were counting on to beat us," said Koontz. "He really looked good in that match." Woodland reeled off a dozen straight bout wins against Cass in the finals. Three were by forfeit, five were by points, and four were by pins from Blake Cash, Bryce Shedd, Demarcus Williams, and Jalen Hudson.
“They have one of the best teams in the state,” said Koontz. “Woodland has a tremendous lineup. They have to be one of the favorites to win state. We got banged up a bit in the first two matches so we sent a lot of JV kids to the mats in the finals.” “Everything we have done this season builds up to the state tournament,” said Woodland head coach Adrian Tramutola. “We focus on the team concept and being selfless at this point. We ask our guys to do what is needed in their match to help get our team a win. That's all it is about at this point.” The first round of the Class AAAAA State Duals Championship will begin Thursday morning at the Macon Centreplex with 16 teams including Woodland and Cass. The competition will continue through the championship matches Saturday afternoon.