The third annual Cardinal Holiday Classic wrestling tournament is scheduled for Saturday at Cardinal Newman. The 12-team affair includes the host team, Heathwood Hall, Gilbert, Pelion, A.C. Flora, Mid-Carolina, Cross, Chris School, North Central and Bishop England.
Cardinal Newman is the defending tournament champion.
“I couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve received for our tournament,” said CN coach Eric Goff. “Interest in the sport continues to grow at our school.”
In fact, Goff has more than 50 wrestlers for the second year in a row. The goal this season is to make a serious run at ending the SCISA reign of Hammond. The Cardinals, now in their fourth season on the mats, have finished second to the Skyhawks in each of the past two seasons.
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“We’ll see how it goes when the playoffs start,” said Goff. “We have a lot of experience and depth, but Hammond is still a very strong program.”
The Cardinals welcome back 14 wrestlers who have placed at the SCISA state tournament at one point in their careers. The headliners are senior Talley Lattimore (130-135) and senior James Williams (189-215). Lattimore is shooting for his fourth individual state title, while Williams, whom missed the bulk of the football season after suffering an injury in the first game, is expected to be in prime shape come playoff time for a run at a third straight state title. He was a consolation champion as a freshman.
Freshman Cole McCarter is back at 103 after finishing third at the weight last season. Junior Alex Geurin moves up to 130 or 135 this season after finishing second at 119 last year and second at 112 in 2007. Senior Chris Palevich will be at either 152 or 160 after placing second at 130 last season. Junior Richard Hodaly bumps up to 140 after placing second at 135 last year and finishing third at 130 in 2007. Senior Thomas Winstead is at 145 and is looking to place again; he was third at 135 in 2007. Senior Adam Touma will be at 152 or 160 and has one last shot at gold; he was second at 130 in 2007, second at 119 in 2006 and third at 119 in 2005. Senior Johnny Hodge is at 171; he placed third at 152 in 2007. Senior John Bolchoz will battle Hodge for the nod at 171 after he finished second at the weight last season. Senior Greg Regan is back at heavyweight after finished second at state a year ago.
Senior Charles Ray, a two-time state runner-up, is injured and Goff is not sure of his status.
Promising newcomers include freshman Joey DeAngelis (145-152) and eighth-graders Hunter Richardson (112) and Conner Egan (119).