The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

NC Wrestling clutches a win against Osborne during their thrilling senior night

Ciara Whimbush
NC Wrestling commemorated their senior night January 10. In between the exhilarating matches between Osborne High School’s varsity, JV and girls teams, the wrestling Warriors received friendly cheers and encouragement from the audience. NC’s wrestlers and wrestling managers have created a lasting legacy on the program, which became firmly cemented on their special night.

NC’s Wrestling Warriors (2-0) begin 2024 with a relatively high spring in their step. From winning the Cobb County Wrestling Invitational for the first time in school history to securing a win at the Warrior Invitational, NC wrestling has relished a successful first half of their 2023-24 season. As the team ventures onto the latter half of their competitive run, they encounter a popular highlight of any sports season: senior night. Through heartwarming posters, encouraging cheers and an embracing feeling of Warrior Pride, NC Wrestling added another win to their season, filled with enough school spirit to boot.

January 10, friends, family, faculty and students ventured to NC’s main gym to bear witness to the thrilling evening. The Warriors set out to compete against the Osborne High School Cardinals, a fellow Cobb County school that NC has faced several times at this point in the season, even as recently as the JV and Girls Scramble January 6. Equipped with their varsity, JV and Lady Warriors teams, Osborne maintained their stature as a strong opponent to NC. 

After senior Destiny Elliot beautifully sang the National Anthem, NC’s JV wrestlers first took the mat to set the tone for the evening. A plethora of wrestlers secured wins via pin such as magnet sophomore Mason Prevost (138), sophomore Joshua Dahan (215) and magnet juniors William Hein (138) and Jack Brillinger (285). Junior Issac Sykes-Rasby (285) won his match in the blink of an eye, successfully pinning his opponent in forty-five seconds. Freshman and new wrestler Dawson Brownlee (150) competed against Alfanso Castillo (150) in a nail-biting match that resulted in every audience member on the edge of their seats. With four seconds left on the clock during the second period, Brownlee maneuvered a swift pin against Castillo, right before the referee called “time!” Although the JV matches did not officially receive an overall team score, the Warriors collected 36 points against Osborne’s nine. 

Before the varsity wrestlers took to the mat, NC’s senior wrestlers and wrestling managers lined up with their families to commemorate their senior night. The managers received the first round of warm cheers and applause from the audience; seniors Sidnei Oglsby, Paulina Vega and Imani Wilson, as well as magnet seniors Natalie Salomón and Niobe Ruiz Gonzalez, graced the mat with their families as Head Coach Jeffery Bettis read off a list of their accomplishments and favorite memories. Between a wrestler slamming into Salomón’s table junior year, to the majority of managers hilariously recounting the bus falling stranded on the side of the interstate last season, the senior managers charmingly represented their appreciation for the team alongside their families.

Swiftly thereafter the managers received their flowers and photos, and NC’s senior wrestlers entered the mat. Magnet seniors Xavier Daniels (175) and Umar Fatmi (138) began their section of the celebration, with both men hoping to pursue a degree in Engineering— specifically Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, respectively— at Georgia Tech after high school. New-comer wrestlers, senior Sham Ibrahim (215) and magnet senior Nathaniel Luage (144) received honors from Bettis and also wrestled their first matches of the season that evening. Senior Elizabeth Lynch (115), a two-time Cobb County Champion, happily entered onto the mat  with her parents and brother, who enthusiastically donned shirts with her face on them. Gavin Tica (165), James Roe (175) and Micheal Heyliger (215), seniors who have participated on the NC team for all four years of high school, also received adoration from the audience of their friends and loved ones.

“[Wrestling has improved a lot]. We are working harder in the wrestling room, and being challenged mentally every day. This season has made my senior season special because after 3-4 years of building the program, [we] are finally starting to show in how [well] we wrestle as a team,” Lynch said.

After a dramatic introduction to their warm-up, the varsity wrestlers took to the mat to compete. Junior Jaiden Joseph (106) quickly pinned Kevin Moeun (106) in the first period, which set the tone for several other wrestlers to win their matches in a similar fashion. In a tense match, Vermillion acquired the upper hand in the second period, gaining reversal points against his opponent with a handful of seconds left to spare. Tica also won his match by channeling the same fighting spirit as Vermillion, as he worked all three periods to clutch a pin against Teron Todd (165). Roe and magnet freshman Ronan An (190) finished their matches relatively early during the first periods, both by quickly pinning their competition. As the round concluded, Heyliger’s match proceeded into double overtime. As the entire gym fell so silent, one could hear a pin drop. In the last thirty seconds of the round, Heyliger scored two takedown points, thus adding another six points to the Warriors team score. Although select matches resulted in losses for NC, they still beat Osborne by an 18-point margin, with the final score sitting at 48 to 30.

“The best part [of senior night] was honestly just getting a pin in front of my friends and family. I invited them, and I don’t like losing in front of the people that I love. it meant to show them that they love and raised us a winner,” Tica said.

To conclude the evening, the Lady Warriors and seniors competed in exhibition matches that did not count toward the overall team score. Lynch secured a pin in her match during the second period, resulting in cheers from her family in the audience. Magnet junior Laila Sain (130) won by a minor decision score of 6 to 5, fighting until the last second of the third period to ensure her victory. Daniels also won by a 3-1 minor decision during his match, complete with encouragement from his fellow seniors on his accomplishment. Although Ibrahim and Luage did not come out on top during their respective duals, they fought during their first matches, a feat that stands as an inspiring experience for any wrestler.

Ultimately, NC wrestling experienced a triumphant senior night, filled with love, posters and notable background music. As their season progresses, the varsity Warriors prepare to compete at the Region 5 Duals at Cherokee High School January 13. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 15, the JV wrestlers and Lady Warriors will travel to Archer High School to wrestle at the Archer JV/Girls Tournament. 

The Chant wishes the 2024 class of NC wrestlers and wrestling managers an amazing rest of their senior year. Congratulations!

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About the Contributor
Ciara Whimbush
Ciara Whimbush, Copy Editor
One fateful day in 2013, Ciara Whimbush wrote a story about two girls visiting a witch’s house in the woods. Throughout the process, she stumbled across the thing that made her feel the most like herself: writing. As Whimbush embarks on her junior year as a member of NC’s magnet program, she aims to continue to expand her view of the world through a journalistic lens. As a newly minted editor, Whimbush excitedly looks upon this new school year to hone her craft and build upon her new discipline. She holds the field of social studies in high regard, as she actively participates in NC’s Model UN club, as well as HiStory Retold, an organization that seeks to diversify curriculums across classrooms. Aside from typing away on her keyboard, her other interests include spinning her flag and rifle on the NC Color Guard, baking sweets, making Dad jokes, taking pictures of the sky and indulging in various video essays riddled on YouTube. During her second year at The Chant, Whimbush hopes to become a better writer, an impactful editor and a citizen of the world; whether it be with interviews, articles, or exploring out of her comfort zone. Her main goal surrounds making her first-grade self proud of how far she has come.       

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