Wewahitchka hosts 10th annual Gator Brawl wrestling tournament

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This past Friday and Saturday, January 13-14, Wewahitchka High School played host for the 10th annual Gator Brawl wrestling tournament. 

Using a scramble format with three brackets, depending on how many wrestlers there were in each weight class, 18 teams competed for the title. 

Although most participants were from the Panhandle area, Waccamaw High School from Pawleys Island, South Carolina, made the trip and finished in third place. 

Having three mats set up in the gym and a fourth in the commons area, there was plenty of action for wrestling fans, with 14 weight categories going from 106 lbs. all the way to 285 lbs. 

Wewa wrestling coach Tracy Malcolm said that “this is the biggest event in the Wewa gym all year long, and second only to Wewa’s softball pre-season tournament.” 

Malcolm emphasized that the “Gator Brawl wouldn't have been possible without (the) selfless contributions” of the parents and many other volunteers at the event. 

When the final match ended Saturday evening, the Wakulla “A” team claimed first place, followed closely by Chiles High. 

Wewa’s grapplers finished in ninth place, “way better that I thought we would do,” Malcolm said. 

No wrestler impressed more than Gator senior Conner Roberts, who took gold in his 160 lb class, and was voted Outstanding Wrestler in the upper weight classes by opposing coaches. 

Roberts, now 39-2 on the season, went 8-0 during the Brawl, with perhaps his toughest match coming against Andrew Yates of Mosley early Saturday afternoon. 

After winning the match by a score of 6-4, Roberts said “(Yates) was pretty strong, and I did get a little lazy in some parts which (the coaches and I) talked about and we’ll fix that up.” 

Considering his overall finish, Roberts certainly “fixed it up” the rest of the way. 

Coming in second in the 170 lb class, eighth grader Calvin Carpenter “shocked us all by finishing the scramble portion undefeated,” said Malcolm. Pinned in the finals by a senior from Milton High, Carpenter is 27-16 in his first season of wrestling. 

In the 120 lb class, Wewa’s Jake Parker defeated a wrestler from Arnold High to finish in third place. Parker is now 37-6 on the season.

“Every wrestler gave everything they had, every period, every match,” said Malcolm. “Some won, some lost, but everyone competed.” 

Malcolm also singled out Kameron Easter, Madi Ferrell, and Angel Williams “for hopping over to the dark side and wrestling the guys this weekend.” 

Easter finished in 11th place at 106 lb, Williams took 13th place at 113, and Ferrell finished 14th at 120. 

Williams, a junior, said that this season has been “really fun, and I’m really glad that I could come back on the team this year and have this opportunity.” 

Only in her second year of wrestling, she said that “I was at our weightlifting meet and Jay (Coach Rushing) told me to come out and try the wrestling team. I did, and I fell in love with it.” 

Here is how other Wewa wrestlers did at the tournament: 

  • Zeke Cooper, 13th, 106 
  • Wesley Spencer, 11th, 113 
  • Luke Bryan, 19th, 132 
  • Jarrett Spencer, 11th, 152 
  • James Hardy, 8th, 220 
  • Sam Hunter, 9th, 285 

The Gators next wrestling opportunity will come on Friday, January 20, at Bay High School in Panama City, for the George Mulligan Memorial 32-man round robin tournament. 

Gator Brawl, Wrestling, Wewahitchka, High School, tournament

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