A veteran quartet of Heard County High School wrestlers are making their way to the Macon Centreplex today.
With all four of the Braves' qualifiers being upperclassmen for the GHSA Traditional Wrestling State Championships, head coach Kyle Yates doesn't anticipate nerves being a factor for his guys when they open the eight-man Class AA bracket this morning.
That especially holds true for juniors Gage Cannon (145 lbs.) and Logan Moran (220), who are now two-time state qualifiers, while senior Kevin Hendrix (126) and junior Sam Brown (195) are first-timers to the state scene.
"I think the experience helps tremendously. Gage went down last year and the lights might have been a little too bright. His first match he didn't really wrestle well and he came back and beat the same kid later on by like 10 points," Yates said. "So I think that helps. And the same for Logan that they've been there.
"I don't think the other two are going to be shy about anything. I think they're going to be fine. It helps having these guys kind of talk about what it's like."
Moran placed second at the Class AA West Sectional this past Saturday, while Cannon came in third and Hendrix and Brown finished fourth.
In order to reach the podium this Saturday, Yates said it's all about having the right mental preparation and then executing once they get on the mat.
"They know the guys from our sectional and a couple of guys from the south we've seen throughout the year. But a lot of those guys we haven't seen," Yates said.
More than anything, Yates wants his state qualifiers to soak up the experience this weekend and leave it all on the mat in what he feels is the Mecca for any high school wrestler.
"It's just an awesome atmosphere. I think it's the best championship atmosphere of all the sports in the GHSA because it's such a centralized thing. The fans are awesome. It's just great for the sport of wrestling," Yates said.