The 2013 William S. Venable DeKalb County Varsity Wrestling Championships got underway Friday in the Tucker High School Gymnasium that is named after him.
Twenty-one teams are competing for the traditional wrestling team title including Arabia Mountain, Cedar Grove, Chamblee, Clarkston, Columbia, Decatur, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Lakeside, Lithonia, Marist, Martin Luther King Jr., McNair, Miller Grove, Redan, St. Pius X, Southwest DeKalb, Stephenson, Stone Mountain, Towers and Tucker.
McNair is the defending champion after capturing its first ever DeKalb County Wrestling Championship in 2012 with a 200.5 to 193 win over Marist.
The Mustangs will face challenges from 2011 champ Southwest DeKalb, 2012 runner-up and 2010 champ Marist along with Lithonia and Stephenson.
Friday's action featured two rounds of championship matches and one round of the consolation bracket.
Saturday morning at Tucker kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with consolation round action followed by the semifinals. Championship, third place and fifth place matches are scheduled to start at approximately 3 p.m.
Clarkston junior Gashaw Belete (138) is one of four returning county individual champions having won the 132 pound division a year ago, but has moved up one class for 2012.
McNair is led by senior Khalil Williams (120) who won county and area titles in the 120 class and finished a strong fourth at the Class AAA state meet.
Southwest DeKalb junior Corey Strickland (138) took first in the 145 pound division at county and area a year ago, but is in the 138 pound division this season.
Stephenson may have the strongest group of returnees led by senior Darian Perry (182) who won titles at county and area in the 160 pound division last year, but will be in the 182 division this weekend. He is joined by senior Stephen Wiley (152) who took second in county, first in area and sixth at state a year ago. Junior Christopher Marion (160) was second at county in 2012 in the 171 pound class.
Admission is $5 for the event. Stay tuned for results.
Mark Brock is the Information Officer/Statistician/Web Manager for DeKalb County Schools Athletics