Derrick Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Winning individual area championships from Alexander were (from L-R) London Dubroc, junior; Austin Starnes, senior; Sam Albritton, senior; and Vinne Ferrara, sophomore. The Cougars had five other wrestlers to place at Saturday's meet.

Just before the Alexander team started breaking down the gym from the Area 5-AAAAA Tournament, they gathered in the wrestling room for coach Sean Moistner’s post-match talk.

The team poised for pictures just before the clean up begin on the main gym floor.

At the conclusion of the match, Alexander had four wrestlers to don championship medals. Placing first for the Cougars were junior London Dubro in the 106-pound class, sophomore Vinnie Ferrera (113), and seniors Austin Starnes (120) and Sam Allbritton (160).

Taking second was sophomore Nat Nelson (145), senior John Grey (152) and senior Leo Alysworth (220).

“It is what we practice for everyday,” said Dubroc, who has a 38-7 record. “I didn’t expect nothing less. It was just a matter of us going on the mat and producing when the time came.”

It was a compete reversal of the area dual’s earlier this month at South Paulding High. During the two-day dual championships, the Cougars finished third, one spot of reaching the state meet in Macon.

It was the first time in six seasons that the Cougars didn’t qualify for the state meet.

But the team went back to work, and made up for it in the individual area tournament.

As a team, Alexander amassed 244.5 points to finish runner-up to Allatoona, which had 246.5 points.

Moistner said he was pleased at the team’s effort.

“I wouldn’t say we got our swagger back because I never thought we lost it,” Moistner said. “I will say that it was very important for us to do well in this tournament. We needed this confidence boost. I’m extremely proud and excited for my team.”

The Cougars had nine wrestlers to qualify for next week’s Sectionals meet at Allatoona. The two eight in each weight class at Sectionals qualify for the state tournament in Gwinnett the following week.

In all, the Cougars had 12 wrestlers to place.

“It is amazing feeling,” said Allbritton, who has a 41-7 record. “I think this will change my life forever. I feel this tournament has prepared me for state.”

Also qualifying for the area meet is sophomore London Dasaro, who placed third in 132 and senior Trevor Rose was third at 138.

The Cougars have three wrestlers that will be alternates in junior Cole Driskel (170), junior Connor Perry (195) and sophomore Spencer Myers at heavyweight.

“We came through this as the underdog,” said Starnes, a two-time area champion. “I think some people had discounted us after the dual meet. I feel we have put in the effort in the practice room and we are now ready.”

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