MACON — On a weekend at the Macon Centreplex where streaks went to die, North Hall reestablished itself as one of the major players on the state scene at the 2020 State Duals wrestling tournament.
The Trojans captured their second Class 3A title in three seasons with an unexpectedly easy 49-18 win over 2019 Traditional state champion Sonoraville.
Perennial champions Jefferson in 3A (18), Social Circle in 2A (5), and Commerce in Class A (6) all saw there long state title streaks come to an end in 2020.
The Class 3A finale was being touted as a pick-em showdown. The Trojans had other thoughts winning the first five matches to run out to a stunning 22-0 lead, highlighted a thrilling 4-2 win by Christian Contrera in overtime at 113-pounds and capped by a second period pin by Jacob Pedraza at 120.
North Hall recorded five pins and won 11 of the 14 individual matchups and dominated from the opening whistle.
“The guys just put in a gutsy performance. They came here and laid it all on the line. We won every one of the key matches -- Contrera’s win was huge -- and the guys really stepped up,” North Hall coach David Nichols said.
However, the early success was eerily reminiscent of last year’s finals when North Hall jumped on Jefferson quickly but could not close out the match needing just one win over the final four. The 2020 finals definitely had an alternative ending.
“Last year taught us a lot,” Nichols said. “We didn’t let up this time and the guys came in this year with just a totally different attitude. It was just a great performance by everyone.”
Seth Carlton set the tone with a 12-4 victory at 285 in the opening match and Bowie Eisenberg, in the first of one of seven key matches mentioned by Nichols in a pregame conversation, held on for a tough 5-3 win. Dawson Thompson then got the first of the five pins at 106, which was followed by Contrera’s and Pedraza’s big wins.
In fact, North Hall won all seven of Nichols’ highlighted matches at 113, 132, 138, 145, 152, 182, and 285.
Sonoraville, which had taken down 18-time defending champ Jefferson in the semifinals, did not get its first win until match six at 126. But the Trojans reeled off five more consecutive wins to answer back. Damon Campbell got a pin at 132, Jack Whitemire took an 8-1 decision at 138, Cody Smith got a 3-2 decision at 145, and Dalton Battle clinched the match with a 10-0 win at 152.
Hunter Adams followed with a pin at 160 and Logan Hawthorne got a pin at 182 for the final win of the day for the Trojans.
“Honestly, this was not exactly what we were expecting,” Nichols said. “It was a lot closer than it looked but the guys came out loose and relaxed and were pumped up and ready to wrestle. Just a great day for North Hall wrestling.”
For Commerce, which was looking for its seventh straight Class A crown, things started strong as Eliah Burns opened the match with Trion with a 12-4 decision for a quick 4-0 team lead. But the Bulldogs answered with a pin at 285 and the Tigers’ Daniel Nash at 106 could not hold a 7-4 lead losing 8-7, which was followed by another Trion pin at 113 to take a 15-4 lead.
Commerce got a pin from Dawson Legg at 120 but the Bulldogs won six of the next seven matches, four by pin, to seal the match. The Tigers got pins from Jakob Frates at 182 and Joshua Frates at 195 to close out the day.
The key was the Bulldogs rallying from behind in four matches to post wins and flip the scoreboard.
Commerce coach Kendall Love knew going in it was going to be the biggest challenge of their seven-year championship run.
“(Trion) had a lot of seniors and we’re a pretty young group and Trion is very talented,” Love said. “We knew we were going to have our hands full. We had the lead in four matches that we ended up losing so that kind of turned the score some.
“We’re going to go back to work next week and work on the things we need to do to get better and get ready for the Traditionals.”
In the Class 3A consolation bracket, Jackson County took down Jefferson 32-29 to claim the third-place finish. The Dragons finished fourth.
Jackson County advanced to the third-place match holding off Lovett 39-30 in the consolation semifinals. The Dragons advanced beating Adairsville 39-24 in the consolation semifinals.
In the Class 5A consolation bracket, Buford finished third after taking down Ola, 48-21, in the consolation finals. The Wolves had advanced to the consolation finals with a 51-24 win over Harris County earlier in the day.