ATLANTA -- Colby Faircloth might have been disappointed late Friday night when he just missed out on the GHSA Class AAA main draw state finals at 135 pounds, losing to Evan Burchette of West Forsythe.
But Faircloth's coach, Kevin Fretwell, sure wasn't.
"No way am I disappointed. I'm proud of Colby. He went far in this thing," said Fretwell, adding he still felt Faircloth, who didn't even place last year as a junior, had a solid chance to get third overall if he wins both his matches today in the consolation round. "Colby is a kid who is so confident, that sometimes he's his own worst enemy. But when he's on his game, (as he showed here) this week, there not too many people in the entire state who can touch him. He beat one kid in 18 seconds. Just stacked him."
But Faircloth wasn't the only Albany wrestler to make a deep run at this year's state tourney.
Monroe big man David Coe, who is one of the smallest heavyweights in the state at 285 but arrived at this year's state meet as a top seed, dominated his way to the state semifinals, where he faced Greggory Goosby from Shaw late Friday night with a trip to today's final on the line.
Wooden, however, lost in the finals and ended up finishing sixth.
Before the match, however, Wooden did say he felt Coe had a great chance.
"I was proud all week (watching him). David has really come a long way," Wooden said of Coe, a senior. "This is a kid who didn't even place last season and now look at him."
Both Coe and Faircloth had to win three matches in a row to reach the semis. The deepest any wrestler from Albany has been in the state tourney in years was last year's Herald Player of the Year, Brandon Scott, who lost in the 145-pound championship match.
Also bringing wrestlers to this year's meet was Dougherty, which had high hopes for 189-pounder Eugene Watkins and 152-pounder Reginald Coley.
Watkins reached the quarterfinals and lost, but finished in the Top 10, while Coley was beaten in the second round, but managed to finished in the Top 16 after winning a match in the consolation round.
"I think Eugene coulda went farther, but sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way," first-year Dougherty coach Kareem Sanders said. "But I think all in all this gives us a good benchmark to build on for the next year."
Sanders said it's tough to give himself a grade in his first season as the Trojans' new coach, but he feels the program is headed in the right direction.
"I thinking taking eight kids to state in my first year is good," Sanders began, "but there's always room for improvement."
All wrestlers at this year's state meet, however, did get to skip the newly formed sectionals, an extra level of competition that was brought back by the GHSA in the last two seasons. This year's sectionals, though, were cancelled by the GHSA after a winter storm prevented teams from traveling to various sites throughout the state.
So while Dougherty brought a strong contingent of wrestlers to state this year, like its counterparts Monroe and Westover, which also brought at least five each, each school only had a small number make it out of the first round of the main draw.
"That's the way it was for everyone (with so many kids) coming this time," Fretwell said. "It's tough up here. Just to win a match is tough."
Faircloth, however, wasn't the only wrestler for the Patriots to be one of those few who made a run.
Reginald Sherman at 125 pounds and Dylan Snapp at 130 both finished in the Top 10 with Sherman coming in 8th and Snapp 7th.
"Dylan really scrapped out there," Fretwell said of Snapp, who was pinned the final second of his Round of 16 match. "And Reginald ... well Reginal really surpised me. He stepped up the plate this week. That's a kid I could see possibly winning state next year."