After a two-year run by Central High School, there’s a new wrestling champion in town.
On Saturday, Smiths Station took home the 22nd annual City Wrestling Championships at Columbus High School. The Panthers won with 222.5 points and three victories in finals matches.
“I think we’ve proven through the year that we’re a great team,” Smiths Station head coach Tommy Sanders said. “Sometimes, the kids we expect to do well don’t always do well, but somebody picks it up on the other end. We won all three major tournaments: The Smiths Station tournament, the city tournament and the Swede Umbach in Auburn. Each time, we had another star step up.”
This time it was Dillon Morales who stepped up for Smiths Station. Morales dropped to the 113-pound division and delivered the school’s first victory in the finals in a back-and-forth match with Spencer’s Isaiah Arredondo. Morales outlasted Arredondo to win the match in a decision, 6-5.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Sanders lauded the effort of Morales, whose performance on Saturday is the highlight of what has been an up-and-down year, he said.
“It was huge,” Sanders said. “I think it sealed the win for us.”
For good measure, the Panthers had two more victories after Morales’ triumph. AJ Phillips grabbed a victory in the 195-pound division with a win over Kendrick’s Isaiah Sellers, and Deondrae Williams followed by pinning Central’s Josh Ford.
Smiths Station successfully dethroned Central, but the Red Devils proved they haven’t lost their game. Central won five matches in the finals but ultimately finished third with 191 points behind Smiths Station and Spencer, which had 194.
“We’ve got to give Smiths Station their due, but it just really stinks to have the better team today and still not come out with the victory,” Central head coach Robert Morales said. “It’s bittersweet. But (Smiths Station) did what they had to do. They scored their points in the back side, and they got our trophy. We’re going to let them borrow it for about a year.”
While his team fell short of winning the city championships for the third straight year, Central’s Max Kauffman walked away with plenty of accolades. The sophomore, who took home the city championship in the 126-pound division, was not only named the Carter-Butts Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament but tied for the Will McVay Sportsmanship Award.
Kauffman shared the sportsmanship honors with St. Anne Pacelli’s Colin Mulvany, who finished second in the 132-pound division.
Smiths Station 222.5, Spencer 194, Central 191, Harris County 183.5, Chattahoochee County 124.5, Shaw 117, Columbus 105, Jordan 92.5, St. Anne Pacelli 66, Brookstone 62, Hardaway 53, Kendrick 43, Northside 35, Carver 31
106 - Terell McNeill (Harris) pinned Levi Fouts (Smiths)
113 - Dillion Morales (Smiths) d. Isaiah Arredondo (Spencer) 9-5
120 - Robert Mulvany (Columbus) pinned Sh’Kale Barnes (Hardaway)
126 - Maxwell Kauffman (Central) d. Tyler Wilson (Smiths) 10-2
132 - Johnnie Swinnie (Central) d. Colin Mulvany (Pacelli) 10-0
138 - Elijah McNickels (Spencer) d. Dillon Luttrell (Smiths) 12-5
145 - Kristian Scott (Central) d. Kaleb Fontenot (Smiths) 6-3
152 - Doyle Terrance (ChattCo) pinned Jason Burgess (Spencer)
160 - Jadarius Johnson (Central) d. Jonathan Toole (Columbus) 10-9
170 - Jalen McWhite (Central) pinned Grady Lee (Harris)
182 - Cohen Perry (Harris) pinned Carlos Vizcarrondo (Brookstone)
195 - AJ Phillips (Smiths) d. Isaiah Sellers (Kendrick) 4-1
220 - Deondrae Williams (Smiths) pinned Josh Ford (Central)
285 - William NanaFabu (Columbus) pinned Renard Swiney (Jordan)