Pickren leads locals at South Walton's Border Wars

Published: Dec. 9, 2018 at 2:29 AM CST
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Twenty wrestling teams and 15 state champions from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee competed against each other Friday and Saturday at South Walton's sixth annual Border Wars.

For two hours during the championship round, they worked together as the gym and the entire sport stood still.

From Oregon to Iowa, California to Virginia; NCAA meets and high school meets, quite literally standing and sitting still.

These schools use the website TrackWrestling for just about everything, including timing, scoring, bout sheets, results, and brackets.

The site crashed.

Wrestlers hung out on the mats and South Walton basketball courts/ Parents listen to music in the hall. Officials grabbed some food. Meanwhile, the coaches banded together to run the meet manually.

"What they call 'dead in the water,' that was us," South Walton coach and event organizer Carey Nick said. "We were actually dead in the water until Tracy Malcolm from Wewa and the rest of the coaches around the area in Panama City and all around the country...jumped in here. Everybody had a weight class. We just got it hammered out."

The glitch is not South Walton's fault at all. Twitter lit up with meets around the country stalling to reset their events.

Nick said the website is normally reliable. Running an event with an "old school" format isn't as difficult as it is time consuming--especially when you've already begun.

"We've done it before. My first year here, 2006, we did the paper route. It's just a long, strenuous program but as you saw when you came in, all the coaches, we're like a big family. From coast to coast, no matter what state you're from, we all chipped in."

When bouts resumed following a two hour delay, two of South Walton's own turned in strong results.

Ethan Pickren earned three pins en route to the championship at 138, defeated a wrestler from Holy Cross (LA) by technical fall at 4:55 of the first period in the final. Teammate Seth Weinthal placed fourth at 132, leading the Seahakws to a 14th place finish, highest among area teams.

Arnold placed 15th, with Mosley 19th and Wewahitchka 20th.

Holy Cross won as a team with 466.5 points.

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