- 12 Nov 2016
- Written by Jason Greenberg
- Published in Daily-Tribune News: Sports Section
The Cartersville High wrestling team will compete today at Union County in its first tournament of the year.
The Canes have some strong wrestlers returning, and hope today will be the beginning of an improved season and maybe an appearance in the state duals tournament.
“We always go into the year with the goal of qualifying for the state tournament, dual team-wise. We haven’t been able to do it. We’ve been close, but we haven’t gotten there yet. So we’re still pushing to be a region runner-up or a region champ and go to state. That’s a goal for us,” Cartersville head coach Garvin Edwards said. “We really want to see as many of those returners… place or get there at least. That’s kind of what we’re anticipating as far as our team and the individuals right now.”
The Cartersville lineup features two state qualifiers and a state place returning. Senior Robby Earick was on the podium as a junior last year and Jonathan De La Cruz wasn’t far off.
Cartersville also has a couple of seniors that figure to play key roles in the lineup with Rafael Lopez and Carlos Aborresco.
Edwards hopes to have some talent in the heavyweights returning as well in Demetrious and Desmond Winters, although both are still competing in the football season. Both were alternates at sectionals a season ago.
Edwards said, “I expect those kids to be here and I’m hoping they are, but until they show up, we really don’t know.”
The Canes were a young team last year, and many of those wrestlers received valuable experience as underclassmen. Those wrestlers include Braden Duroucher, A.J. Scott and Logan Warren.
An addition to the young core is a talented freshman in Caz Smith.
“We’re expecting some good things with [Smith] this year,” Edwards said. “We do have some good kids coming back, and we have a good kid coming in, and then we have that senior group.”
As is always the case with north Georgia wrestling, there will be stiff competition in the area this year to try and make it to state. The Canes avoid perennial powers Heritage, Ridgeland, and most notably, Gilmer, this year, but have moved to another strong region with quality teams.
“It’s going to be tough,” Edwards said. “You still have LaGrange. You have Troup, both of those programs were dominant programs in the late ’90s, early 2000s, and then tailed off a little bit, but they have rebounded. Plus, Central, Carrollton has a very good wrestling program. So those three teams will be the teams that you have to beat in area to qualify for dual team state.”