Due to several school districts closing today as the region recovers from Tuesday’s inclement weather event, the Area 7AAAAA and 5AAAAA tournaments at Kell and North Paulding, respectively, will take place Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. — that is if they’re allowed to.
Cobb County athletic director Steve Jones plans to drive around the county today and will make the decision in the afternoon whether basketball, wrestling and swimming and diving activities will take place Saturday.
The meets were originally scheduled to take place today and Saturday, but the school closures, which have now reached three and a half days, have limited the event to one day with the possibility that it stretches into Monday if certain criteria are met.
“All afternoon activities in the county have been canceled (today), but not necessarily for Saturday,” Jones said. “I’m going to make that decision (today). As of right now, I’m holding off until early (Friday) afternoon and before 6 p.m. to decide if Saturday is good.
“It’s not an issue of buses traveling the roadways in the county. It’s about whether or not the kids can get out of their neighborhoods to get to school and then get on those buses to get to their venues. Then, we have to make sure they can get back to their schools after the event and get home safely.
“It depends on the forecast and temperatures in the area during the day and in the evening and if it’s just safe for our students to be on the roads.”
Area 5AAAAA is all set to go if conditions allow. Allatoona coach Joe Lanier and the rest of his area coaches met Thursday to determine individual seeding for the tournament. The Buccaneers, who placed second at the area dual meet and finished third in the state at the Class AAAAA dual tournament, placed third at the traditional tournament a season ago. Allatoona, along with South Paulding and defending champion Woodland-Bartow, are the favorites to win the team title.
“We’ll be running a one-day tournament,” Lanier said. “We’re going to start at 8:30 a.m. and just run it. We’re all in the same boat with school being out, so there aren’t any advantages.”
Allatoona seeded a wrestler in the top six of each of the 14 weight classes. Jacob Robinson (152 pounds), Will Kemp (160) and Cody Webb, the defending champion at 182 pounds, were all given No. 1 seeds.
The GHSA did not waive the five-match limit per day for wrestlers, so the Area 5AAAAA coaches put a criteria system in place to determine placers who, if necessary, would have to wrestle a sixth match.
Those wrestlers who finish among the top four of their respective weight classes at each area tournament will advance to next week’s sectional meet.
“The days off of practice hurt, but my kids are pretty disciplined — as much as teenagers can be disciplined,” Lanier said. “I expect my kids to make weight and be competitive and wrestle tough.”
Pope, Sprayberry, Kell and Osborne will have the same expectations for its wrestlers at the Area 7AAAAA tournament at Kell.
The Greyhounds, who will be aiming for their seventh consecutive area traditional crown, will be led by returning champions Josh Tazzetta, Tyler Haskin, T.J. Collins and Jake Henson. Jake Adcock and Davis Burson should also perform well.
Matthew Springfield, the No. 2 seed at 120 pounds, is Kell’s highest seeded wrestler. The Longhorns, who have three seeded wrestlers, placed fourth at the tournament last year. Due to injuries, however, Kell coach Steve Lattizori doesn’t see his team finishing that high this time around.
“We’ve had some crushing injuries at 182 and 220 and we’re out at 285,” he said. “Those are some point getters who are down, so I’ll have some backups. It will give some young kids an opportunity to step up.”
With wrestlers having to practice on their own, Lattizori’s other concern is getting the gym ready to host Saturday’s meet.
“I’m going to meet with my assistant coaches and some parents (Friday) morning,” he said. “We’re going to pick up a mat at Pope and another one at Sprayberry and set the gym up ourselves (today). This situation has put a strain on (coaches) as well as the kids. Hopefully, they’re getting together and getting in as much work as they can.”
Sprayberry will be hoping to see some success from Tyrik Woods and Darius Burton. Osborne wants to improve on its 10th-place finish from a year ago.
The Area 3A tournament for North Cobb Christian, Mount Paran Christian, Whitefield Academy and Walker at Mount Zion-Carroll remains unchanged with a Saturday morning start.
Mark Watson should perform well for North Cobb Christian, while Ian Williams (106) and Gunner LaPrad (195) are expected to see good results for Mount Paran Christian. Walker’s William Schubert is expected to finish high on the podium, while James Johnson should perform well for the Wolfpack.