Tucker Mat Men Take on DeKalb
Tigers to compete in county tournament
The DeKalb County Championships have been kind to Tucker High wrestlers. And if the Tigers compete as they hope to, this weekend's tournament should be no different.
When action begins on four mats at 5 p.m. Friday at Lakeside and resumes there at 9 a.m. Saturday, the Tigers have every intention to still be in the thick of the action come the 3:30 p.m. finals.
Last year, Gabriel Miller and Carey Cloud won county championships at 125 and 152 pounds, respectively, helping Tucker match Marist's two individual titles, behind Stone Mountain's tournament-high three. But that wasn't surprising, considering six Tigers captured county titles the preceding two seasons, and three Tucker competitors own three in their career.
"We've got a nice dual meet team," Tigers coach Shannon Miller said, "but we're stronger as a tournament team (for individuals) this year."
Tucker won county in 1996 and '98, then again in 2008 and '09, before relinquishing the title to Marist last season. On the strength of Miller and Cloud's titles, as well as Kyle Stroud's runner-up finish at 215, the Tigers took ninth of 21 teams last year.
This weekend, Tucker will be led by wrestlers including Cloud, a 152-pound senior who won Lovejoy's Tara Classic and Dalton's Carpet Classic and was named one of two most valuable wrestlers in Dalton. Also back is the senior Miller at 130, who won Tara and Dalton and was the other most valuable wrestler in Dalton.
Last year Miller won county by beating Marist's Conner Carrier 13-4 in the final, and Cloud dealt Marist's Hudson Chaney his first loss, 13-2.
Look for senior 145-pounder Corey Miller to make an impact, the way he did in finishing third at Tara. Sophomores Romello Swain (103) and Romainze Swain (112) come in with wins at the Miller Grove Invitational. Miller said freshman 119-pounder Diego Bautista could surprise many this season.
The Tigers hope success at county can propel them to a first ever state championship, behind Columbia's DeKalb-leading five.
"I actually feel we've got a shot this year," Miller said. "We have a good nucleus, a really good group of guys this year."