Alexander High School sent three teams to the annual Kennesaw Mountain Duals in Cobb County Saturday morning. The Cougars had two varsity teams, an “A” team and a “B” team compete, as well as a junior varsity squad.
“We brought 50-plus kids to Kennesaw Mountain and they all got matches,” said AHS coach Sean Moistner. “That’s what I really wanted because when it is all said and done the only thing that really matters is the end of the year. This is all work toward there.”
“The tournament is great and I like the format of it, and you have some tough teams here like South Paulding, Kennesaw Mountain and Mountain View,” added coach Daryk Cochran. “The kids did well, but we have some improvement to do. It’s early in the season and as long as we fix it, and get everyone down to weight, we will be ready. We brought three teams and were finally able to get the football players out and start getting them in wrestling shape. We had a good performance but we are not there yet.”
The AHS “A” team reached the championship match where they squared off with Mountain View High School. The match started at 138 as Alexander’s Little Nelson suffered a pin fall loss in the second period. The Cougars went down 9-0 when Torrance Saunders lost 10-3 at 145.
After the slow start, the Cougars rolled off four straight wins. At 152 Roman Boylen picked up a quick pin. Willy Dieckmann picked up a second period pin at 160 to put the Cougars up, 12-9. Matt Beske earned a 4-0 win at 170 and Muhammad Ansari beat his opponent at 182, 5-1.
Justin Beske suffered a pin fall loss at 195 and Wesley Shepherd lost by pin at 220 to put Mountain View back on top, 21-18. A pin fall loss at heavyweight by Daniel Kolivoski put the Cougars down by nine.
A forfeit by Mountain View at 106 made the score 24-27. Austin Starnes then picked up a second period pin at 113 to put AHS back on top. AHS freshman Vinnie Ferrara, lost by pin in the first period at 120, but Bryce Hollomon picked up a third period pin at 120 to put the Cougars up, 36-33.
Trying to hang on to the win, AHS sent another freshman to the matt in Logan Dasaro. Dasaro suffered a first period pin, allowing Mountain View to take the title with a 39-36 victory.
“We wrestled well but had some sickness and injury,” Moistner said. “We had some kids get a chance to wrestle in some tight matches that they don't normally get the opportunity to do and I think they wrestled well.”
The Cougars reached the finals by beating North Paulding in the semifinals. Alexander came out with an opening match win, when 132-pounder, Hollomon, won by pin fall in the first period. The Cougars went down 12-6 when both Nelson (138) and Saunders (145) lost by pin fall.
AHS then rolled off four straight victories for a 30-12 advantage. Boylen, at 152, continued to show his dominance with a quick win by pin. Dieckmann (160) and Shane Hornsby (170) both picked up forfeit victories. Ansari picked up a second period pin fall victory to give the Cougars an 18 point advantage.
Alexander’s Justin Beske suffered a 7-2 loss at 195, but Shepherd earned a first period pin at 220.
North Paulding came roaring back late in the match with four straight wins. Alexander’s Kolivoski suffered a loss by pin at heavyweight. After a forfeit at 106, Starnes took a 9-1 loss at 113. Ferrara took a 13-1 loss at 120 and Alexander’s lead was down to one point, 36-25.
Alexander’s hopes of reaching the finals would now come down to Dasaro at 126. The freshman received a pep talk from two time state champion, Boylen, right before taking the mat, and did not disappoint, picking up a first period pin fall victory to seal the team semifinal win.
Going undefeated on the evening for the Cougars were Hollomon, Boylen, Dieckmann, Matt Beske, Shane Hornsby (170) and Ansari.
“I am really proud of Hollomon,” Moistner said. “He wrestled tough and did some things we needed him to do. I am really excited about him.”
Alexander will be back in action on Wednesday when they compete in the Parkview Duals.