The kids competing on the MatDawgs wrestling team are those gladiators, and according to Shane Lee they put in hard work and travel second to none.
“It has been an extremely busy season so far with the most exciting times to come,” the elder Lee said.
Not only has the team been busy since November, but they have some members of the team who are turning into powerhouse wrestlers.
“State qualifying tournaments will be Saturday, Feb. 26 where a wrestler must finish in the top four spots to qualify for state,” Lee stated. “Our goal at the start of the season was to have all of our wrestlers to qualify for state and to have at least two medal at state. These are big goals for a second-year club, but after having 13 of 16 wrestlers qualify for state last year and two medal at state we feel we can build on that success.”
In the Northwest Georgia Championships the team had a good day of wrestling with six wrestlers leaving with medals.
Dalton Bowman (10-and-under, 100 pound class) won first place and the gold medal, Brooks Moore (10-and-under, 135 pound class) finished third to win the bronze medal, Drew Kirkpatrick (six-and-under, 49 pound class) placed fourth to win the bronze medal, Will McLendon (10-and-under, 67 pound class) placed fourth to win the bronze medal, Andrew Cromer (10-and-under, 52 pound class) claimed fourth to leave with a bronze medal, and Taylor Carr (10-and-under, 70 pound class) finished fourth to win the bronze medal.
The MatDawgs have had several other successful outings.
On Dec. 18, six wrestlers traveled to Alexander High School in Douglasville to compete. Two wrestlers medaled at that tournament (Moore won first place; Kirkpatrick finished third).
On Dec. 27 at Shorter University, the MatDawgs took 12 wrestlers and left with eight medals.
Alan Cordero, Moore, Bowman and Curtis Lee earned second place in their respective age and weight groups. McLendon, Cromer and Curtis Lee placed third while Kirkpatrick finished fourth.
“This was a very successful day on the mat,” coach Lee said.
Competing in another close tournament in Bremen on New Years Day, the MatDawgs had four wrestlers compete on the holiday and two medal. McLendon placed third while Curtis Lee earned fourth.
In their shortest trip of the season on Jan. 8 at Pepperell, six wrestlers competed and all six medaled.
Bowman and Moore both earned first place finishes that day while Cordero and Curtis Lee finished in second.
Curtis Lee and McLendon also placed fourth at the event.
On Jan. 15 in Chattooga, eight MatDawgs wrestled and six left with medals. Curtis Lee also traveled that day to West Laurens to compete in the Tour of Georgia.
At Chattooga, Moore brought home top honors with a first place finish. Brandon Brame rejoined the MatDawgs after the middle school season ended and he took third place.
Cordero, McLendon, and Zuker Campbell all placed fourth. At West Laurens, the young Lee placed fourth.
Jan. 22 saw the MatDawgs in Paulding County and they had six wrestlers compete but only two leave with medals. Moore and Cordero each earned second place finishes that day.
After that visit, the MatDawgs competed two more times.
At Ringgold, four of the six wrestlers left with medals. Moore finished the highest with a second place ending while Dalton Marsh and Cordero earned third place medals. Curtis Lee finished in fourth.
In Calhoun, nine MatDawgs went to wrestle and four left with medals. Brame had six wins on the day, with five coming by pin, to finish in first place in the 12-and-under, 90 pound class and fourth place in the 12-and-under, 85 pound division.
Moore finished second with two wins coming by pin and Cordero placed third. He had three wins with two coming by pin.
The MatDawgs are now turning their sights to the state qualifying event, hoping to make Cedartown proud by sending several gladiators to state.