The Greyhounds may be without two of their top wrestlers as they attempt to win a fourth straight state championship in the coming weeks.
In Saturday’s Area 7AAAAA tournament at Kell, Tyler Haskin (132 pounds) suffered a broken hand before a semifinal-round pin of Kell’s Brian Link and had to forfeit his final match against Creekview’s Justin Goss. Pope also lost Jake Weber (182), who broke his leg 5 minutes into his semifinal against Northview’s Keewan Williams and couldn’t continue.
Although Pope produced four area champions and four runners-up Saturday, losing Haskin and Weber proved costly. The Greyhounds were denied an area title for the first time since 2007 when Cambridge, a second-year program, claimed the championship with 253 points.
Pope had to settle for second with 249.5.
Creekview was third overall with 228.5 points, with Sprayberry and Forsyth Central tied for fourth at 125.
“Most of the kids wrestled pretty good, and we were winning the tournament,” Pope coach Jim Haskin said. “But when you lose two of your best wrestlers, you lose big points. It’s unfortunate.”
While Tyler Haskin finished second in his weight class, he’s not expected to participate in next weekend’s sectional at Cambridge.
Despite coming up short Saturday, the Greyhounds is expected to have strong representation for the sectional.
Josh Tazzetta (113) needed was a third-period reversal in the championship round to win a slim 2-0 decision over Forsyth Central’s Nathan Kistler. Jake Adcock (138) prevailed by scoring a technical fall over Cambridge’s Will Britain, Davis Burson (152) pinned Forsyth Central’s Knight Bankston in 2:39 and Jake Henson (160) clinched a 9-0 major decision over Kell’s Calvin Irby.
Sam Skinner (126), T.J. Collins (145), Colton Lombardy (170) joined Tyler Haskin as runners-up for the Greyhounds. Seth Gorman (285) placed third, and Walker Yarborough (120) was fourth.
Cambridge came out with five champions and three runners-up to help it beat the more established Pope team.
Sprayberry will send four wrestlers to the sectional, led by Darius Burton, who won a 9-2 decision over Northview’s John Kenyon at 195. Alex Labarre (106) and Christian McLellan (220) finished second in their respective brackets, and Jacob Speeth (138) was third.
“We got a couple of surprise guys come through, which was great,” Sprayberry coach David Church said.
Kell didn’t have an area champions, but it did send six on to the sectional. Matthew Springfield (120) and Calvin Irby (160) were second, Link and Cody Ashway (145) were third and Alec Prokop (138) and Julian Johnson (285) both finished fourth.