Athlete of the Week: Wrestler always works
Danny Bell has done everything to make Flowery Branch’s wrestling program a competitive one.
He’s practiced for hours perfecting his craft, changed weight classes for the betterment of the team, and brought the program to the medal stand of last year’s Class AAA state tournament by winning the 119-pound weight class.
Bell can now add first four-time county champion to the list of his accomplishments.
Bell, a senior, became the Falcons’ first four-time county champ with wins by decision on Friday during Day 1 of the competition.
For his efforts, Bell is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
“It feels good to know that all that hard work has paid off,” Bell said after the competition.
And coach Shane Lancaster feels the same.
“It’s an honor as a coach to witness Danny win his fourth title,” he said. “His desire, his drive and his work ethic aren’t what you see in most teenagers. He deserves all the recognition and titles he’s received.”
Bell won his first and second titles at 112 pounds as a freshman and sophomore, and went on to score two more titles at 119.
“(Danny’s) actually still light enough to wrestle at 112,” Lancaster explained of Bell’s division change. “Last year he chose to wrestle at 119 for the team. The transition has been very smooth, it almost seems natural.”
That transition also helped lead Flowery Branch to its third straight Hall County title.
Bell had wins by pin against North Hall and West Hall, and was named the Hall County Wrestling Championships’ most outstanding wrestler for the 103-140 pound divisions on Saturday night at the Falcons’ home gym.
“He did great,” Lancaster said. “It was truly an opportunity for him to step up and be a team leader. His performance gave the team the motivation it needed.”
The third county title didn’t come easy though.
North Hall defeated Flowery Branch in the first match of Day 2, but the Falcons bounced back and won eight of the next nine matches to lock up the win.
Against West Hall it was much of the same.
The Spartans defeated Flowery Branch in four early matches that kept the teams at a close 9-6. However, the Falcons turned the tide and won eight of the last 10 matches to secure the title.
“Making those two runs wasn’t something we expected to do,” Lancaster said. “It wasn’t planned. I give full credit to the kids. It’s a major source of pride for the team. ”
When asked about Bell’s work ethic, Lancaster explained: “Danny has always been the type to have the utmost respect for authority. He does what he’s asked in the wrestling room. There’s never any excuses to find ways out of working.”
Flowery Branch visits West Forsyth to participate in the Region 7-AAA Area Duals on Friday in Cumming.
Way to go Dan!