On day two of the Class 6A state dual wrestling championships at the Macon Centreplex, the Dalton Catamounts scored a pair of victories in the consolation bracket to keep alive a chance to finish as high as third in the state.
After falling in its first-round match on Thursday, Dalton came back with a 63-15 victory over Stephenson High School Friday morning, then edged out South Paulding 36-31 in the afternoon session.
In the meet against Stephenson, Jaxon Wells (138 pounds), Jorge Arevalo (152), Malik Coleman (160), Joseph Reese (195), Isaiah Griggs (113) and Hunter Noland (120) all won matches via pin. Wells and Reese's pins came in less than a minute with Coleman sticking his opponent in 15 seconds.
Heavyweight Ethan Arnold won his match with a 6-2 decision.
The meet against South Paulding came down to the final bout.
Dalton opened a big lead, winning six of the first eight bouts for a 26-12 lead. South Paulding responded, winning four of the next five to get within 32-31 heading into the 138-pound closing match between Wells and South Paulding's Zach Kinard.
Wells proved more than capable of performing with the meet on the line, scoring a 9-0 major decision and sealing Dalton's win.
Tyler O'Brien (wrestling at 195), Arnold and Noland all won matches by pin, and Coleman won his by a 16-1 technical fall.
Aly Hussein (145) and Kevin Diaz (182) won close matches by decision -- Hussein 13-12 and Diaz 3-1, each with late takedowns. But perhaps the match of the day was a 220-pound bout between Reese and South Paulding's Raji Brown, last year's 195-pound state runner-up.
Reese and Brown were tied at 3 going into the third round with Brown scoring all three of his points in the final 12 seconds of the second round. Brown began the third in the down position and got an escape for a 4-3 lead with 1:20 remaining in the match.
Reese scored a takedown with 41 seconds left to jump ahead 5-4, then successfully held Brown down during the remaining time to win the decision.
Dalton needs two wins today to be in a position to wrestle in the third-fourth place match. The Cats line up against Lee County at 8:30 a.m. If they win, they'll wrestle the loser of Alexander and Valdosta at 10:30 a.m. A match for third would take place at 2 p.m.
The matches can be viewed at trackwrestling.com with a paid subscription.