Three years ago, North Cobb Christian made history as well by giving its students another athletic avenue with the creation of its first varsity wrestling program.
By advancing to today’s Class A traditional state championships at Commerce High School, sophomore Sam Resultan and freshman Mark Watson have more than adequately justified the school’s decision to start the program.
Resultan and Watson are the first two North Cobb Christian wrestlers to reach the state championships. Resultan was the first to qualify after placing third at 106 pounds in the Class A sectional two weeks ago at Darlington. Watson soon followed with a runner-up finish at 126.
Now, they can make some more history of their own by becoming the program’s first state-placers.
“I’m very excited that Sam and Mark have this opportunity,” North Cobb Christian coach Anthony Lorenzo said. “It’s a testament to how hard they’ve been working. I think they both have a pretty good shot at medaling.”
Resultan, who didn’t win a match last year, has turned his fortunes around, en route to a 17-11 record heading into today’s competition.
“I had a rough year last year, which is making this experience even better,” Resultan said. “I only started wrestling in the eighth grade. I think gaining weight and staying focused has really helped me. The coaches have helped me a lot, too, and I’m excited to go out there and glorify God and do the best that I can.”
Watson, who started wrestling in the fifth grade, is 31-8 on the year.
“No one from the program has been to state before, so this means a lot to go as a freshman,” he said. “It’ll be tough. Most of the kids there will be older than me. I don’t expect to win, but I want to do my best and give glory to God.”
North Cobb Christian graduated five seniors from last year’s team. It has several young wrestlers who have been wrestling for a while, and Lorenzo said many of those athletes look up to Watson based on his skill level. Resultan’s work ethic has also influenced the group.
“Those guys are as ready as they’ll ever be,” Lorenzo said. “They’ve bought into the program and have been working hard.”
After the sectional tournament concluded Feb. 8, and last week’s winter ice storm postponed the championships an extra week, Resultan and Watson haven’t wrestled competitively in nearly weeks. They’ve been practicing at private facilities and at home.
The postponement also changed the venue for the state finals from The Arena at Gwinnett Center to local high schools. Had the event stayed at the larger arena in Duluth, the atmosphere could have been overwhelming for the duo.
“I think our schedule this year gave the kids a good look into competing in an environment like that,” Lorenzo said. “Even though I would have liked for it to have been in the Gwinnett Arena, maybe this smaller venue will play to our favor.”
Neither Resultan nor Watson had attended the finals at Gwinnett Arena, so they had no preconceived ideas about the event.
“I hadn’t heard about what it’s like at the Gwinnett Arena, so I’m not disappointed that it’s at Commerce,” Resultan said. “I just want to wrestle my hardest. That’s my goal.”
“It doesn’t matter where we would have wrestled,” Watson added. “I don’t know much about either of them. We’re just excited to go. This is a big deal (to be in the finals) since no one from our school has gone before.”