None of Cherokee County’s five wrestlers earned All-America honors during the ASICS/Vaughan United States Amateur Wrestling Junior and Cadet Greco-Roman National Championships in Fargo, N.D.
Not all was lost for Team Georgia, however, as Harris County’s Tyler Denova was an All-American after placing fifth in the cadet division at 189 pounds.
Denova won four of his first five matches to reach the championship rounds. His only loss in regulation was to Mitch Sliga of Indiana. Denova received a bye after losing to Matthew Hopkins of Washington in their first round championship match.
Another loss to Sliga moved Denova into the fifth-place match where he pinned Montana’s Jake Leinwand in 33 seconds.
“Tyler’s an all-around great kid who works hard in the room,” Team Georgia board member Danny Lutz said. “He’s relentless on the mat and keeps attacking. He absolutely deserved All-American, which I know is a big thrill for his brother.”
Tyler’s brother, Joey, is a former Team Georgia wrestler who was a Greco-Roman junior All-American last year. Joey currently trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Michigan and is helping coach Team Georgia at nationals this week.
“Tyler has an opportunity now to be a double All-American,” Lutz said. “It could be a big week for him if things go right.”
Danny’s son, Etowah standout Jeremiah Lutz, had a strong showing in the 145-pound Greco-Roman junior division, but he fell short of All-America honors. Lutz lost his first match of the tournament by fall, but then won his next three to remain in contention.
Unfortunately, Lutz dropped his final regulation match to Virginia’s Blake Roulo via technical fall, coming up just short of the championship rounds.
“Losing the first match always stinks,” the elder Lutz said. “Things are really tough on you after that. We didn’t see the Jeremiah we all know in that match, but we saw the guy we expected to see after that.
“Then, he hit a really good kid from Virginia that we knew would be tough for him and that turned out to be the case.”
Jeremiah recorded the best record among the local wrestlers at 3-2. Creekview’s John Edwards was 2-2 at 130 pounds in the cadet division, while his Grizzly teammates Cullen Castle (cadet) and Joe Hulen (junior) each finished 1-2. Cherokee’s Brady Sandercock (cadet) finished 0-2.
“I think our cadets, and all of our young kids, wrestled well,” Danny Lutz said. “They learned a lot about what it takes to win here.
“Cullen is young and a little inexperienced, but we’re impressed with him coming here and winning a match.”
Edwards got off to a good start with consecutive wins, but back-to-back losses left him on the outside looking in.
“We thought John would place the way he started out and then boom, boom,” Lutz said. “A lot of times it’s the luck of the draw.”
Castle went 1-2, winning his second match of the day, while Hulen won his first before dropping his next two. Sandercock didn’t fare well.