GARDEN CITY — The 18th annual Mark Toomey Invitational ended on a pleasantly surprising note Saturday for South Effingham wrestling coach Tom Onorato.
Matt Holt trailed going into the third period of his fifth-place, 215-pound class match. But he scored with an escape, a takedown and then ended the proceedings with a pin of Swainsboro’s Roosevelt Williams.
“He did a great job,” Onorato said of Holt in the Mustangs’ final match of the competition at Groves High School.
“That was awesome. He needed that. I’m glad to finish the day on that note.”
For Onorato and the Mustangs, their final standings in the Toomey were gladly received. In spite of not having wrestlers in three weight classes, South Effingham took third in the team standings with 179 points, only six behind defending Class AAA champ West Laurens. McIntosh won the 18-team event with 225.5 points. Glynn Academy, with tournament most outstanding wrestler Devin Graham, was fourth with 147 points.
“That’s a credit to the kids to finish that high out of 18 teams missing three kids,” Onorato said. “It was another great effort.”
The Mustangs had three individual champions — Alex Wendell (119), Jason Screen (135) and Robbie Collum (145).
Wendell beat Nigel Hamilton of Glynn Academy in the finals, while Screen beat Marcus Stephens of Burke County 4-3 and Collum downed Justin Eash of Brunswick 2-1.
Josh Jameson took second at 130, falling 6-3 to Richard Hughes of McIntosh. Brad Boyd (125), Cameron Collum (140) and Adam Morse (189) finished third in their respective weight classes. Collum pinned Glynn’s Mark Watson in the consolation final and Morse posted a 14-2 victory over McIntosh’s Erik Wilanzheimer.
Zac Nelson finished fourth at 152.
The Mustangs host the Area 3-AAA duals this weekend, so seeing West Laurens — a team they could run into the state duals and whose wrestlers they may see at the state traditional — again helped.
“They did a great job of bringing in schools we haven’t seen,” Onorato said of the tourney organizers. “It’s been a great tournament for us. We saw a lot of good competition. It’s nice when you have good competition right in your own area.”