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Woodland captures third straight GHSA State Duals Championship with win over Cass in finals

For the third straight years, the Woodland Wildcats wrestling team will be hanging a GHSA State Duals Championship banner. This one was extra special coming over local Bartow County and region-rival Cass in the state championship match. Woodland took an early lead Saturday only to have the Colonels rally in the middle of the matchup to take a 24-23 advantage. Woodland then took control with five straight wins down the stretch to secure a third-consecutive ring and a 47-24 final score.

Adrian Tramutola, Woodland High School
Woodland head coach Adrian Tramutola was all smiles after receiving the Wildcats' third consecutive State Duals Championship trophy.

Starting the title match with the 170-pound division, the Wildcats took an early 14-0 lead as Brandon Montes, Jeremiah Rhodes (182), and Jaxon Smith (195) grabbed consecutive wins for Woodland. Montes (170) won by technical fall over Tripp Adams; Rhodes won a 9-4 decision over the Colonels’ Parker Dunn, and Smith pinned Sebastian Sosa. Cass’ Noah Hoffmeier (220) needed only 0:49 to defeat Charles Higdon by pin and pick up the first points of the match for the Colonels making the score 14-6. Beau Jernigan (285) and Hayden Santora (106) of Woodland extended the Wildcats’ lead to 23-6 with the next two bouts. Jernigan pinned Sean Whatley and Santora took a hard-fought 3-1 decision over Montgomery Tompkins. The Colonels made the middle portion of the match interesting by winning the next three matchups with pin falls. Cass’ Jake Crapps (113), Cole Hunt (120), and Bryce Kresho (126) each collected six points and suddenly gave the Colonels a brief 24-23 lead with five matches remaining. Those pins came against Connor Stermer, Carson Bailey, and Easton Bishop, respectively. Woodand responded to that turn of events by taking each of the remaining five bouts. The Wildcats won four of the five by pin fall, technical fall, or major decision. Woodland’s Randy Buchanan (132) pinned Elijah Doolittle; Caden McCrary won a major decision over Adan Urizar; Caleb Henson (152) needed only 0:16 to pin Gavin Smith; and Colby Cochran (160) finished out the match with a technical fall win over Zach McKnight.

Woodland's William Bishop and Cass' Tyler McKnight had one of the most exciting matches of the day in the 138-pound division's championship matchup.

In likely the most thrilling match of the finals, Woodland’s William Bishop (138) managed an escape with only 0:02 remaining in the third period to edge the Colonels’ Tyler McKnight, 10-9.

To reach the title match, Woodland had wins Saturday over Walnut Grove 64-18 in the state quarterfinals and Ola 47-24 in the semifinals. Cass defeated Jackson County in the opening round 67-11 and topped Woodward Academy in the semifinals, 42-37.

In Woodland’s win over Walnut Grove, Henson, Cochran, Jernigan, Santora, Stermer, Bailey, Bishop, Buchanan, and McCrary all won by pin. Against Ola, Woodland’s Henson, Smith, Jernigan, Santora, and William Bishop each won by pin while Cochran won by technical fall. Jeremiah Rhodes (182) earned a hard-fought decision, 6-3, for the Wildcats and Higdon did the same with a 10-6 decision.

Cass High School wrestling
The Cass Colonels finished as the 2021 GHSA State Duals Championship runner-up.

In the Colonels’ opening round win over Jackson County, Cass took ten of the fourteen matches by pin or technical fall.

Smith, Zach McKnight, Dunn, Tompkins, Crapps, Hunt, Doolittle, and Tyler McKnight each pinned their Panthers opponent. Urizar and Kresho won by technical fall. Sebastian Sosa (195) added a 15-13 decision in the Cass win.

Cass outlasted Woodward Academy in the state semifinals by only five points but forfeited the final six points to the Eagles at the 145-pound slot. Urizar, Hoffmeier, Crapps, Cole Hunt, Kresho, Doolittle, and Tyler McKnight each had important pin victories for the Colonels against Woodward.


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