The cadet championships, held June 11-15 in Daytona Beach, Fla., featured Jake Adcock — an offseason transfer to Pope — Kennesaw Mountain’s Justan Rivera and Walton’s George Humphreys, while the junior tournament, which took place June 25-29 in Oklahoma City, saw recent Pope graduates Brooks Climmons and Jake Henson compete alongside rising Pope senior Tyler Haskin and rising Walton senior Jacob Murphy.
Cadet wrestlers were born in 1997 and 1998, while juniors were required to have been born Sept. 1, 1993 or later and be enrolled in high school this past school year.
The wrestlers competed in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling against teams from different states in bracketed duals. The top teams from various pools advanced to championship brackets.
Some states, including Georgia, fielded two teams in each of the different tournaments. Twenty-four individual medals were awarded and All-America national team plaques were handed out to the top eight teams in both styles.
Georgia’s top junior Greco-Roman squad finished eighth in the gold/silver championship bracket to earn All-America honors, as did the state’s top cadet Greco-Roman team, which placed fourth in the gold/silver bracket. The Georgia cadet freestyle team was also awarded All-America accolades after its eighth-place finish, and the junior freestyle team placed 10th after finishing second in the bronze/copper bracket.
Georgia’s junior All-America status was its second straight in the Greco-Roman style and third in the past four years. The team placed seventh in 2012 and 2010, respectively. The cadet teams’ All-America finishes were a first for Team Georgia.
“Georgia is really stepping up as a state and competing against some of these powerhouse teams,” said coach Mike Miller, who also leads the wrestling program at Life University. “Thanks to all of the coaches and Team Georgia president Anthony Flatt and the rest of the Team Georgia board — that’s why Georgia is making these leaps and bounds and catching up to these strong teams.”
Climmons was named to the Greco-Roman and freestyle all-tournament teams after going 5-0 in each discipline.
“It felt really good to compete with Team Georgia,” Climmons said. “The team has made great strides over the years and is heading in the right direction. Five or six years ago, we were finishing last. Now, we’re consistently getting into the top eight, and we’re on the verge of a national championship.”
Climmons, who has a scholarship to wrestle at the U.S. Air Force Academy, will depart for Colorado to begin basic training July 16.
“I’m happy I was able to make the all-tournament teams,” he said. “I went in expecting nothing less than that. My coaches really helped me prepare and I was ready to compete. They did a great job getting me ready. That was my last high school meet, so it’s sentimental, and it was good to finish out going undefeated.”
Henson was 5-4 in the two disciplines, while Murphy went 2-6. Haskin was 1-4 as part in freestyle, but 3-1 in Greco-Roman.
Among the cadets, Rivera (7-0) made the Greco-Roman all-tournament and posted an overall record of 13-1. Adcock finished 11-3, while Humphreys went 10-4.
The tournaments served as preparation for the Georgia wrestlers planning to compete individually at the cadet and junior national championships, which begin Friday in Fargo, N.D.
“This was great preparation for Fargo,” Miller said. “We hope we can get a lot of all-Americans there. We’re getting them ready and we’re going to continue showing them that Georgia is making strides.”