Collins Hill wins third consecutive wrestling title

The Collins Hill wrestlers rose from their seats and held three fingers in the air as teammate Drew Ferguson wrapped up the final match in the wrestling's state duals Saturday night, giving the Eagles their third consecutive Class AAAAA title.

Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos wasn't ready to use the ‘dynasty' word, but he clearly was proud of how his team cruised to another trophy.

"When you think of ‘dynasty,' you think of doing something like this over five to 10 years," Ramos said. "All I can say is that I'm very proud of the young men. We won most of the close matches, and that was the difference."

Collins Hill defeated Pope 38-9 in the championship match, with Ramos referring to this year's Pope squad as "one of the three best wrestling teams I've ever seen come through the state of Georgia."

The other two are Collins Hill of this year and last year.

Pope coach Jim Haskin said this is the best team he has had in 15 years of guiding the Cobb program. Pope has nine seniors and gave Collins Hill a closer match at the beginning of the season.

"We kept it as close as we could in each match," Haskin said.

"Unfortunately, the points in each match started to add up, and things ultimately didn't go our way.

"We didn't get the decisions we needed, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. I'm awful proud of the way we hung in there and battled."

Pope also had to shuffle its lineup because Dexter Bushart, one of the top's best wrestlers, was sidelined with a knee injury. It was the second year in a row that Pope finished as runner-up to Collins Hill in the championship.

"We went against the best, and we have nothing to hold our heads down about," Haskin said.

The state's other champions are Loganville in Class AAAA, Gilmer County in AAA, Jefferson in AA, and Bremen in A.

Collins Hill dominated the tournament to the point that even its own wrestlers were a little surprised.

"I think it has to do with all the hard work we put in," said Collins Hill's Joel Smith, who has signed a wrestling scholarship with Arizona State.

"At the start of the season, we're nowhere near how good we're going to be at the end. The coaches have us training at a pace so we can peak at tournament time."

"But three in a row? That's great to be able to say. We've got some really talented young wrestlers in the program, so we may keep this going for a while."