Thursday night’s wrestling meet at Grovetown High School served a dual purpose.
While it was a team competition, it helped prepare individual wrestlers for the Region 2-AAAAA Traditional meet coming up on Jan. 31 at Northside, Warner Robins.
It was the host Warriors, in front of their home crowd for the first time this season in their final team meet of the year, who emerged victorious with wins over Greenbrier (51-30), Burke County (64-17) and Richmond Academy (60-16).
Warriors coach Nathan White was pleased with the way the team performed in front of its supporters.
“It was our first opportunity to get in front of our home crowd and get in front of our school and kind of show the progress we’ve made throughout the year,” said White. “It was good to have a dominant performance to kind of put a stamp on the end of our dual season and make a statement going into the postseason.”
Greenbrier took home two wins, beating Richmond Academy 42-30 and besting Burke County 43-30.
Individually, Greenbrier junior Caleb Diprete was one of the standouts on the night as he picked up three pins, running his record to 25-5 for the year.
After winning all of his matches at the Region 2-AAAAA dual meet, Diprete, who said everything just kind of clicked this year, was using the meet to help prepare for the region individuals.
“I’m practicing the techniques, making sure my conditioning is at its fullest,” Diprete said.
Greenbrier head coach Chris McDaniel has seen Diprete find a signature move and get it down pat, including using it on all three pins Thursday.
“He’s got one move he’s just really great at,” said McDaniel. ‘‘The ¾ Nelson, he’s perfected it.”
Against the Wolfpack, the Warriors jumped out to a 36-6 lead before having to hold on for the 51-30 win. Two matches went down to the wire.
In a back-and-forth affair, the Wolfpack’s 145-pound Alexander Torres pinned Ryan Wheeler at 5:18 in the third period.
In the heavyweight division, Warriors’ sophomore D’Ante Smith trailed George Conrad 10-0 late in the third period, having lost two points in the second period for stalling. With the match heading into the final minute, Smith took down Conrad before they both went out of bounds. On the restart in the up position, Smith flipped Conrad and was able to pin him with just 12 seconds remaining in the match.
“Coach was telling me to be physical,” said Smith of his change from the second to third period.
“I knew I had to use an attack move. I had to get something.”
White likes the makeup of the team and thinks at least half of his wrestlers can advance past the region individuals, where the top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the sectionals.
“I think we have seven to 10 kids that I think realistically can make it to sectionals,” White said.