The Woodward Academy wrestling team has a rich history of success and a long list of state and national accolades. The 2019-20 season has added significantly to that history.The War Eagles successfully defended both their AAAA state dual and state traditional titles by once again capturing the state championship in both formats. Woodward Academy has now captured four state championships in the past two seasons!
At the State Dual Championships in early January the War Eagles stormed through the first two rounds, defeating West Laurens 55-24 followed by Cartersville 45-30. The semifinals matched the War Eagles against familiar foe Blessed Trinity. The match was close early, but a string of wins and pins by the War Eagles led to a 50-28 win over the Titans and a showdown with traditional power Gilmer County. The championship match saw the War Eagles come out determined with pins by Jaylin Tate and Colby McBride to give Woodward an early lead. A couple of Gilmer County wins gave the Bobcats a brief 18-12 lead, but the War Eagles would reel off seven straight victories including three pins to run away with the championship, 44-24. Winning matches for Woodward in the finals were Jaylin Tate, Colby McBride, Nick Masters, Michael Kilic, Vincent Mannella, McCoy Pace, Ben Valdes, Matthew Singleton, and Malachi Wiley.
After the dual season, it was onto the Traditional State Championships where Woodward Academy took home the state title for only the fourth time in school history. In addition to qualifying 10 wrestlers to the individual state tournament, Woodward Academy wrestling put five wrestlers in the state finals and had four individual state champions.
Senior Nick Masters became just the third wrestler in Woodward history (Pete Fritts ’83, Johnny Stallings ’75) to win four state individual championships, capturing the 132-pound title. Senior Vincent Mannella took home his third individual title, winning the championship at 145 pounds, while sophomores Michael Kilic and Matthew Singleton each captured their second state titles at 138 and 160 pounds respectively. Rounding out the team scoring for the War Eagles was senior Malachi Wiley, who finished as state runner-up at 170 pounds. Woodward scored a total of 177 points in the team competition, 26 points better than second place Gilmer County.
In spite of all these amazing accomplishments on the mats, the program’s most important goal is building the best student-athletes who are champions on the mat, in the classroom, and in life. Woodward Wrestling will continue to strive to help young men be successful both at Woodward Academy and in their next phase of their education whether it is at the Naval Academy, UPenn, Columbia, Princeton, or another great institution of higher learning.
Sam McCool was named All-State honorable mention and a Senior All-Star while Kalyn Pierre also received Senior All-Star honors.
2019-20 Varsity Wrestling Roster
Kevin Artis, Assistant Coach
Anthony Rivera, Assistant Coach
Micky Statham, Assistant Coach
Malia Raley, Wrestlerette Coach