The Greyhounds managed to win the same five championships again this year, cementing their status as one of the top programs in the state.
Pope has now claimed seven Cobb County titles — including the last six — as well as six consecutive region duals and traditional titles, three straight state traditional championships and two state duals in a row.
Along the way, the Greyhounds have challenged themselves on a national level, resulting in a No. 36 ranking from Amateur Wrestling News and No. 44 from InterMat.
For helping Pope maintain all its success, Jim Haskin is the 2012-13 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Wrestling Coach of the Year.
It’s the fifth consecutive season Haskin has received the award.
“It’s always an honor to receive an award like this,” said Haskin, who recently completed his 18th season at the helm of the Greyhounds’ program. “All of the head coaches and assistant coaches in the county put a ton of time in with these kids, so to be recognized like this for what we do with them and for them is a real honor.”
Pope’s season was made even more special because of how it finished. The Greyhounds sent 13 of 14 wrestlers to the Class AAAAA traditional tournament and crowned five state champions — Jake Henson (152 pounds), Billy Meek (160), Brooks Climmons (182), Trevor Stevens (195) and Joey Tabachino (220). Five other wrestlers placed, including Josh Tazzetta (106), Preston Markwell (120), Tyler Haskin (126), T.J. Collins (132) and Davis Burson (138).
In all, Pope scored 215.5 team points and dominated the Class AAAAA field. The next-closest school was Ware County with 99 points.
“A couple of weeks have passed since state, and even after it’s really soaked in, I’m still really amazed at what these guys have accomplished,” Haskin said. “To recognize what they went through and to have five state champions, a string of team championships, 10 state-placers and to be ranked nationally in two magazines is just incredible.
“The last four to five years, it’s really just been the consistency of the guys and keeping the program solid — from the youth and feeder programs, right up to our varsity and what they accomplished this year. The consistency in terms of talented wrestlers has been the reason for the growth of our program.”
Pope won other titles besides the five most prominent ones. The Greyhounds also won dual tournaments at Hillgrove and Walton, as well as similar events in Loganville and Cleveland, Tenn. The team completed the year with a 34-4 dual record.
“The amount of kids we placed at state was really the big moment,” Haskin said. “This team wrestled the best of all my teams at a state meet. That was really awesome. To have that many guys stand up on the podium was just unbelievable.”
With six state-placers returning for the 2013-14 season, Pope’s lineup for next year could be just as formidable. Haskin, however, doesn’t know if next year’s team could top this one.
“How do you match what these guys have done?” he said. “We just have to keep pushing forward. We accomplished a lot of our goals this year, and we’ll move on to next year and try to accomplish those.”