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Saturday, January 22, 2011 - 9:01pm

Top Wrestling Programs Highlight Clinch Gear Prep Slam

For wrestling enthusiasts seeking their latest fix of championship wrestling with the state dual championships delayed due to weather, the third annual Clinch Gear Prep Slam was held this past weekend at Holy Innocents’ and the action did not disappoint. Three mats were side-by-side with the action non-stop starting Friday afternoon and finishing Saturday evening. Two-time Slam champion Baylor (TN) was again on top of the standings after Saturday morning but several Georgia schools posted impressive showings. Lovett and Woodward Academy were within striking distance and Marist, Greater Atlanta Christian, St. Pius and Wesleyan represented Georgia proudly. Forty-four teams from eleven different states, including nineteen from Georgia, made the trip to Holy Innocents’ and the the early action was intense.

Fourteen different weight classes were in action ranging from 103 lbs to 215 lbs. If you are not familiar with a wrestling meet, the constant whistles and shouts and cheers may have been a bit overwhelming, but soon you learn to hone in on the action and ignore the outside distractions. Coaches are just inches from the wrestlers’ circle, shouting instructions, encouragement or pleas, just as in basketball or football, however they felt closer. The officials will mostly ignore the coaches though at the Clinch Gear Prep Slam, several times coaches were told to stand down.

The passion of the coaches, the wrestlers and the fans is undeniable though. Former prep wrestlers that moved on were back watching their former teams in action and the wrestling community was all well-educated in the sport, moreso than in other high school sports. The passion on display at the third annual Clinch Gear Prep Slam was a sight to behold itself and if you were going through withdrawal because the Georgia State duals was postponed, the weekend that was should have been more than enough to tide you over until February.