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Canes earn spot in Class AAAA State Duals

For the first time in the Cartersville High School wrestling program’s history, the Hurricanes have qualified for the GHSA Class AAAA State Duals.

In the Region 5-AAAA Duals Championship Tournament Friday at Troup County, 2nd-seeded Cartersville defeated LaGrange 48-36 to reach the championship match against Central-Carroll. The Lions topped Cartersville 54-25 in the championship match to win the region title and that finals loss required the Canes to square off against Troup to determine the region's second state qualifier. Since Troup advanced through the consolation bracket with their only loss coming to Central, Cartersville would have to defeat the Tigers to secure their state berth. In that “true second place” challenge match, Cartersville came out on top 48-36 to advance to the state sectionals as a No. 2 seed from Region 5-AAAA. The duals format, which began in Georgia in the 2001-02 season, pits full team rosters against one another in a bracket format to determine state qualifiers from Area Tournaments and ultimately a state championship team. “I cannot express how proud I am of this team,” stated an excited Canes’ head coach Brooks Gayton. “This team has done something that no other team from Cartersville has ever accomplished. The credit is all theirs.”

In Friday’s opener against LaGrange, the Canes fell behind 12-0 on two straight pins before taking eight of the next nine matches to secure the victory. Senior Kentrel Freeman (152-pounds) started a string of consecutive pins or forfeits by pinning his opponent. That was followed by pins by Jabril Williams (160), Shadre Hurst (182), Collin Buffaloe (220), and Matthew Surrett (285) to give Cartersville a 48-12 lead that finished in a 48-36 victory. In the region championship match loss to Central-Carroll, Williams (160), Buffaloe (220), and Surrett (285) secured pins for the Canes. Tyler Earick (106) won an 8-4 decision and Giles Turner (113) won a major decision, 16-7.

The state qualifying match against Troup started with four straight wins including three pins for the Canes. Rashar Locklear (160), Williams (170), and Rashun Hurst (195) each won by pin while Shadre Hurst (182) picked up a forfeit victory to give Cartersville an early 24-0 lead. The Canes and Tigers then split the next four matches with Earick (106) and Turner (113) winning by forfeit. Zachery Neal (126) pinned his opponent and Freeman (152) closed out the Cartersville 48-36 victory with his second pin of the day. “Our guys have worked hard all season and fought hard to achieve our team goal to reach the State Duals,” continued Gayton. “We brought everybody — varsity, JV, women’s team, and managers — and they all get credit for this accomplishment. We really try to emphasize the team approach and with us only having three seniors, I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”

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