As a three-time state placer, Wesleyan wrestler Sam Ball has been on the cusp of going from a good wrestler to a great wrestler.
Last week, the senior may have begun to make the turn.
The 119-pound Ball defeated Southwest DeKalb's Dequan Warner, a state champion last season in Class AAAA, at the Wesleyan Duals.
"Its got to help his confidence," Wesleyan head coach Jeff Bedard said. "Anytime you get a win over a state champ that's going to help you."
Ball has gradually placed higher each season at the state tournament. As a freshman, he was sixth and as a sophomore could have been in the finals if it wasn't for a questionable call. Ball finished fifth that year and last season was fourth.
This summer, Ball trained hard with the rest of the Wolves, competing in dual matches and going to wrestling camp at UNC-Greensboro. During that time Ball wrestled 35 matches, losing only two or three, Bedard estimates. Ball decided not to run cross country this fall and instead used his time to train for his final high school season.
Ball could stay at 119 or may choose to drop to 112. At either weight, the senior could challenge for a state title.
"I think if he does the things he needs to do with his drilling and staying focused in practice, he could have a very good year," Bedard said.
Helena gets 100th career win
Shiloh's Daniel Helena got his 100th career win last Tuesday against Newton County.
The 130-pound junior won with a first period pin in 56 seconds to reach the century mark. Helena then won his next four matches of the day to finish 5-0.
Helena was a state runner-up as a freshman and a state qualifier last season.
Three other Shiloh wrestlers also had stellar performances last week. Jimmy Ho, Kevin Williams and Lucas Austin were all undefeated as the Generals moved to 7-0 for the season.
Shiloh defeated West Hall 52-30 and Miller Grove 51-22 last Monday and followed that up with five wins on Tuesday, beating Newton County 45-30, West Lake 78-6, Stephenson 54-28, Redan 48-29 and Miller Grove 84-0.
Lions take second at Hoya Duals
Peachtree Ridge had three wrestlers win all five of their matches as the Lions took second place at the Hoya Team Duals at Harrison on Saturday.
The Lions' only loss was to Harrison in the championship round. To reach the finals, Peachtree Ridge defeated East Paulding 75-6, Alexander 42-34, Union Grove 38-33 and Kell 34-33.
Andrew Sartain (112 pounds), Kendall Albert (140) and Blake Pennington (171) led the way with five wins each. Sartain had three pins and Pennington two.
Albert, a two-time state champion, used triple overtime to beat the Hoyas' Alex Medved, a sixth-place finisher last season, 2-1.
Matt Chapman (145) and Caleb Pillow (285) had four wins each and Momin Ali (103), Sam Kuntz (160) and Ben Emerson (189) had three wins each.
Caleb Orr (119) had two wins by pin, Josh Bloodworth (125) and Alex Menchaca (130) had two wins each and Kyle Schneider had one win.
Parkview gets off to good start
Parkview began its 2006-07 campaign just as strong as it finished last season.
The Panthers beat two state powers on its way to winning the Parkview Duals last week.
Parkview defeated the defending Class AAAA dual state champions Henry County 68-12. Henry County was also state runner-up at the traditional state tournament.
The Panthers also won 68-6 over perennial Class AAA power Gilmer County, who won dual state titles in 2004 and 2005. Gilmer was state runner-up at traditional state and third at state duals last season.