CHS athletes find success

By PATRICK MacCOON
Posted 12/17/18

This past weekend saw plenty of success achieved by Cleveland High School athletes.A pair of matmen took championships at their weight class in the McCallie Invitational, while the Blue Raider …

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CHS athletes find success

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This past weekend saw plenty of success achieved by Cleveland High School athletes.

A pair of matmen took championships at their weight class in the McCallie Invitational, while the Blue Raider basketball team knocked off a previously unbeaten and first-ranked Class AA Fulton squad on the road.

Indoor track athletes also fared extremely well at the Galleria Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

Here is a look inside the past weekend.

WRESTLING

With a never-say-die mindset, Cleveland senior Wilson Benefield battled to a dramatic and powerful finish in overtime of the 220-pound championship finals at McCallie Saturday.

Going up against a wrestler with three state finals appearances and one championship, a 4-4 stalemate changed suddenly.

Tied at 4-all, Benefield avoided being thrown by his opponent and used a window of opportunity to attack and land a pin fall. 

To climb atop the podium of his weight class along with nationally ranked sophomore teammate Trae McDaniel (106) filled Benefield with passion after beating a Georgia state champion and two-time runner up.

"There have been so many great wrestlers to come through Cleveland," Benefield said. "When you wrestle here, you want to be the best leader and teammate you can be. To win the tournament is a great feeling, but I can't get on cloud 9 yet. I still have a long way to go before I achieve my main goal."

McDaniel, who is now 13-0 overall, battled to a 10-8 championship decision in which he had to come from behind to win.

State powers from Georgia took first place as Woodland finished with 290.5 team points followed by North Hall with 271.5. Benefield's pin helped CHS into third place finishing with 265.5 team points.

Logan Whiteside (138) and Zach Brezna (170) landed runner-up finishes.

BASKETBALL

The Blue Raiders are now 8-4 on the season after facing a daunting road trip this past weekend.

Sophomore Grant Hurst dropped 18 points, while senior Dionte Ware recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to help Cleveland top a previously unbeaten Fulton 69-58 Friday night.

Familiar head coach Aaron Green and Oak Ridge bested the "Big Blue" with a 62-57 victory Saturday.

The Blue Raiders are now 8-4 on the season, but have gained new life after falling to East Hamilton and Walker Valley in district play.

INDOOR TRACK

In what looks to be a dynamic duo mixed with youth and expertise, freshman Ryan Lovelace and senior Eric Parker impressed this past weekend on the track.

Lovelace set a meet record in both the 1-mile and 800-meter dash with first-place finishes at the Galleria Games, while Parker finished second in the 60m hurdles.

Parker qualified for the New Balance Emerging Elite event in New York.

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