Sean Moistner was quick to praise his experienced wrestlers after Saturday’s Area 5-AAAAAA Team Dual Championship.
But the Alexander coach also equally acknowledged that some of the younger, less experienced wrestlers played a major part of the championship matches.
Alexander defeated South Paulding 49-24 to clinch the area title as both teams earn a berth into next week’s state championships in Macon.
“Everyone knows what a lot of our experienced guys can do,” Moistner said. “I was pleased at the way some of younger guys wrestled. They really showed up when we needed them.”
Moistner was specifically talking about freshmen Dawson Mathews and Jessie Martin and junior Reid Rogers. They did well in the two area team dual matches.
The Cougars defeated New Manchester, 79-0, in the semifinals match on Saturday. New Manchester finished fourth after losing to Northgate in the consolation finals.
Dawson wrestles in the 145-pound division while Martin is at wrestling heavyweight and Rogers is at 195.
“They all stepped up and did a good job,” Moistner said. “They are stepping up and taking over.”
The Cougars will need a similar effort at the Macon Centreplex starting on Thursday for a repeat team dual championship.
Like Moistner, the other wrestlers on the team have full confidence in the younger wrestlers’ ability.
“I really trust them because they can get it done when we need them,” Alexander senior Little Nelson said. “They go through the same work as I go through, so I know they are prepared.”
Alexander has one of the toughest schedules in the state. The team has seen just about all the top teams in the state.
In December, the team placed third at the Southern Slam in South Carolina, which is regarded as one of the top tournaments in the South.
“The younger guys are really helping this team,” junior Nathaniel Green said. “They have been in some important matches. It is surprising that they have stepped up and become important pieces to this team.”
Said Moistner: “Our guys know big things are ahead in the next few weeks. I think they are all ready for them.”