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The 2010-11 Buford High School wrestling team has its share of veterans which Jackets coach John Mahaffey hopes will be a boost to the BHS mat fortunes.
“We only lost two seniors from our team last year, so we have our share of experience,” Mahaffey said. “There’s no substitute for mat experience and we feel it will make a difference this season.”
The Jackets, over the weekend, competed in the annual Red Hawk Invitational in Monroe, N.C., where the Jackets placed fourth in a 14-team field. BHS was two points out of third place.
Sophomore returnee Andrew Broome led the Jackets’ effort with a first.
BHS took 12 wrestlers and nine placed.
“I thought we looked pretty good and did well,” Mahaffey said. “We still have some weight classes to fill, but I feel pretty good about where we are.”
Senior Marcus Pressley, who placed fourth in the state tournament last season, is at 112. He earned all-state and all-region honors last season when he was also named the team’s Most Improved Wrestler.
Broome is one of three wrestlers Mahaffey has to work at 103. Broome a sophomore, will be joined by sophomore Josh Langley, the team’s rookie of the year and an all-region pick last season, and freshman Austin Robinson, who is up from the middle school program.
Senior Devin Starnes, a captain along with Pressley, is back at 152. Starnes reaped all-region honors last season.
Sophomore Dylan Altman will be at 119, while Garrett Johnson, a sophomore, will wrestle at 125, with sophomore Josh Mullins at 130. Mullins earned all-region honors last season.
Juniors Eric McPhearson (160), James Mackey, (171), Jarett Small (189) and Zach Wright (215) round out the Buford squad.
Sophomore James Shehane, a returnee, will work at 140, while Joseph Cervantes, a freshman who joins the varsity from the middle school team, will work at 145.
“The key for this team is to stay healthy and be in shape,” said Mahaffey, who will be assisted by a pair of former BHS standouts in Johntrell Caudle and Rashad Cunningham. “We have some areas to work and improve, but if we can continue to make weight and stay away from forfeits, we should do well. We’re looking forward to the season.”
Cunningham, a state champion last season and the Yellow Jackets Most Valuable Wrestler, reaped all-state honors with Caudle.