A three-time state champion wrestler from Commerce has added to his accolades with the 2017-18 BLITZ Wrestler of the Year award. For Chase Forrester, the honor follows a senior season in which he dominated his competition on the mat.
Coach Kendall Love’s Commerce Tigers wrestling team has now won 10 team state titles in a row since the 2013-14 season, sweeping each year the duals and traditional state tournaments. Very few programs have had this kind of success over a five-year span (nearby rival high school Jefferson is one of the few with longer success). Forrester is just the latest Tiger to benefit from such a program.
Others before him, like four-time state champions Chance McClure and Dalton Flint among many other Commerce greats, went on to have collegiate careers in wrestling, too. Forrester will likely continue that rich tradition.
His senior year saw him go 32-2, culminating in an area championship and ultimately, a third straight state title for the 160-pounder. He made quick work of the Class 1A, 160 lb bracket, winning three matches to earn the title, finishing with a win over Towns County’s Kolby Rogers.
Our panel of 15 voters, made up of media reporters/broadcasters, former BLITZ players, former coaches and a couple of fans, submitted their Heisman-style ballots for the five finalists for the award:
HISTORY OF WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
Forrester becomes the first Commerce wrestler since Chance McClure to win the award in back-to-back years. His win assures that next season we’ll see yet another new Wrestler of the Year award winner since he is a senior.
2017-18 – Chase Forrester – Commerce SR
2016-17 – Zach Matthews – Lumpkin Co SR
2015-16 – Zach Matthews – Lumpkin Co JR
2014-15 – Chris McCrackin – Banks Co JR
2013-14 – Chance McClure – Commerce SR
2012-13 – Chance McClure – Commerce JR
2011-12 – Coleman Cunningham – Habersham Central SR
2010-11 – Caleb Morris – White Co JR
2009-10 – Caleb Morris – White Co SO
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE(S)
Forrester and teammate Cade Ridley both graduate, but the rest of the finalists will be back next year. Look out for an even better year for Lumpkin state champion Nolan Wheeler, who’ll only be a junior. Terrance Walker and Matt Jenkins are rising seniors, so will be primed for big years again. And of course, a Commerce wrestler or two (or three) can work their way into the mix at any point.