This season, Christy, a senior, welcomed her younger brother Carlin, a freshman, to the Hillgrove’s wrestling team, and both found success heading into the Class AAAAAA sectional at Kennesaw Mountain.
“It’s in their blood,” Hillgrove coach Luke McSorley said. “Their dad, Chris, was a state champion from Sprayberry, and he owns a training facility in Powder Springs. He’s been teaching the sport around 30 years or something, so it makes sense that his two kids would be pretty good at it, especially if they’re serious about it. And those two are definitely serious about it.”
Carlin started wrestling when he was 4 years old. Because Christy and their father would travel to see Carlin participate in tournaments, she got involved, too, and started wrestling in the fourth grade.
Both came up through the Hillgrove junior program and put themselves in position to qualify for state following the Region 4AAAAAA championships. Christy finished fourth at 106 pounds, while Carlin won at 113.
Both remained in contention for berths to the state finals after Friday’s opening day of the sectional. Carlin made it into the semifinals, clinching him a spot at next week’s state finals, while Christy is in the consolation bracket and needs to win her first match today to join her brother in Macon.
“They’re both very coachable and they’re two of the better wrestlers we have in our program,” McSorley said. “They drill every day and help each other improve. I’m glad to be a part of what they’re going through. They’re great kids, and to see them get the kind of success they’ve had together this year is really special.”
Christy, who is 37-17 on the season, placed second at the MTXE Invitational at Lassiter and was fifth at the Parlay Invitational at Allatoona. She finished fourth at the Lambert Hook ’Em tournament and was fifth at the Cobb County Invitational.
“I’m really excited to be going to sectional,” she said. “Hopefully, I can finish in the top eight and be the first girl from our team to go to state.”
Meanwhile, Carlin, who is 43-11, finished first at the MTXE and Cobb County invitationals. He was also fifth at the Allatoona event and placed fourth at Lambert.
“I’m just living in the moment and excited about what’s going on,” he said. “I’m really proud to have made the sectional.”
Just as important as it was to make the state finals as individuals, Christy and Carlin will be rooting hard for each other so they can advance together.
“I’m really happy for Carlin,” Christy said. “He’s only a freshman, and for him to win county and region in his first year on varsity shows just how good he is. The thought of us going to state as brother and sister makes us work harder.”
“I’m very proud of her,” Carlin said. “We both grew up wrestling, and for us to place together in tournaments has been pretty exciting.
“Everybody has the potential to finish in the top eight this weekend, and if we wrestle to our ability and do what we know how to do, I think we can make it happen.”
When they’re on the mats, the family dynamic for the Powells takes a back seat to the sport.
“It’s unusual for a brother and sister to be on the same team, but I don’t think of Christy as a sister,” Carlin said. “She’s more like a friend and teammate.”
With their age difference, Christy sometimes thought about what it would be like to wrestle with her brother. Now that she’s getting the opportunity, it’s everything she thought it would be.
“We’ve always been together, and we’ve talked about wrestling together,” she said. “I thought it would be cool with me as a senior and him as a freshman. We’ve both had the dream of going to state, and maybe, this weekend, we can go together.”