Photos Andy Calvert

Roughly a week before competing in the Georgia High School Association State Wrestling Tournament, three Model High wrestlers spoke about their season, their team, and the camaraderie and family-like atmosphere they enjoy at practice every day.

Rylie Howe

“At Model, wrestling is just like one big family,” Rylie Howe, a senior, said. “I started wrestling as a freshman, but I had to sit out my sophomore year because of a soccer injury. But I came back and have wrestled the last two years.”

As a freshman, Howe was the only female on the wrestling squad.

“I was the only girl the first year, so I was nervous at first,” she said. “We have a couple of more girls now. Even when it was just me, all the guys were just like my brothers.”

When asked who her role model is, Howe doesn’t hesitate and mentions Noah Allmon.

“My role model for this year has been Noah, because he’s really helped push me beyond what I thought I could do,” she said.

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Noah Allmon

Allmon, a senior, started wrestling when he was five years old.

“I’ve always liked how fun it is. Wrestling with a team feels more like a family and that makes it more fun,” he said.

On a typical practice day at Model, the grapplers begin some type of workout or conditioning and then begin some wrestling.

“I think the hardest part about our sport is just trying to get through it. It’s always mental and you’re always trying to push yourself,” Allmon said. “There are a lot of times you think you can’t get through something, but if you fight hard you will.”

Allmon said his toughest match came against a wrestler from Toombs County where he learned he needed to be able to step back, not be so aggressive and let his opponent come to him.

The senior said he plans to go to Kennesaw State to try to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering. Although he has had some offers to wrestle in college, he said he is leaning toward just being a community coach for Model.

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Riley Davis is the lone junior of this trio, and he affirms what his two teammates said about how the team is a great group.

“I think our team is very close-knit. I’m close with every one of the guys and the girls on the team,” he said. “It’s like one big family.”

Having that close family can help the wrestlers get through the slog of practice.

“At practice, we start off with conditioning and then go to the room and do some techniques and live wrestling. It’s probably the most physical thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “You have to be tough and enjoy being uncomfortable because there is no situation where you are comfortable.”

Earlier in the season, Davis learned a tough lesson in one of his matches.

“My match against the Landmark Christian wrestler at State Duals was tough. I was up on him 1-0 with about 20 seconds left. I decided to shoot on him, but he managed to turn and pin me,” he said. “It was a big match in our dual, and we ended up losing the match. I felt like I let our team down and let myself down. It was a crucial lesson though because I learned I need to be satisfied with a 1-0 win.”

Davis said his role model is his dad who never misses a match.

“My dad has come to every single match, and he gives me advice on what to do in my next match,” he said. “He never wrestled growing up, but he’s just picked it up as I’ve been wrestling.”

The long, hard work paid off for the Blue Devil trio as all three of them placed at the state meet. Howe grabbed a fourth-place finish for the girls. Davis finished as state runner-up at 175 pounds narrowly losing a decision in the finals. Allmon grabbed a 3-1 victory in the 190-pound finals after earning two victories by pin earlier in the tournament to grab the state title.

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An injury while running at Auburn ended Jim Alred’s long-shot hopes of possibly competing in the Olympics, so he turned to writing and has been crafting award-winning stories across multiple mediums ever since. Along the way he’s been chased by a grizzly bear, worked as Goofy at Walt Disney World, been nominated for two Emmys, interviewed celebrities like Tiger Woods, Bo Jackson, Bill Clinton, coaches his daughters in cross country and soccer and can often be found running with his wife, Tara, around Rome.