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Vidalia Wrestling Finishes Second At Viking Invitational
Tuesday, 24 December 2013

December 24--ImageThe Indian Wrestling team finished second out of 16 teams this past weekend at the Viking Christmas Invitational in Soperton.  The Indians went into the second day in a distant fourth place after posting an impressive one day record of 26 wins and 4 losses, filling only ten of the fourteen weight classes.  “We were excited about the first day.  We haven’t seen a day one to a tournament like that for a while,” commented Coach James Ferry about the first day success.  The Indians finished the second day of pool wrestling with an equally impressive 17 wins and 3 losses.  The individual records put eight Indians into the medal rounds.  “We had more wrestlers than any other team into the medals so we felt confident were could hold onto a top spot as a team,” Coach Steve Fullam added.

In the semifinal round five Indians won to advance to the finals; Connor McCoy (120) by pin, Reggie Lamb (138) by default, Devin Johnson (182) by pin, Daniel Copeland (195) by pin, and Shakeem Lassiter (285) by 4-1 decision.  Michael Joiner (126), Darnell Hendley (152), and Trace Simmons (220) were the other semifinalists for Vidalia.  The Indians now had a firm grip on third place but would need a fantastic finish to move up in team points.

Connor McCoy lost a controversial match at 120 in the finals where both wrestlers were pinned, but since he was the defensive wrestler at the time he loses the match.  Connor finished the tournament with a 6-1 record and second place.  Michael Joiner lost in the consolation finals at 126 to finish a solid 4-3 and fourth place.  Reggie Lamb lost to the defending State Runner up from Treutlen County at 138 to end at 5-2 and second place.  Darnell Hendley defeated a familiar foe from Jeff Davis 2-0 to complete his weekend at 5-2 and third place; both losses coming at the hands of the same opponent from Burke County.  Trace Simmons was defeated in the consolation finals to end his tournament at 5-2 and fourth place.  Jawaun Miller (132) and Tyler Campbell (145) both finished 3-2 to just miss the medal round.

The top spot in three weight classes went to Indians.  “We had more champions than any other team, which made the late charge so impressive,” remarked Coach Bobby Blount.  At 182 Devin Johnson defeated East Laurens in the semifinals and an impressive athlete from Swainsboro in the finals both by pin.  Devin finished the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record, 6 of those by pin, and his first tournament championship in only his second year of wrestling.  Devin said, “I got mad when the Swainsboro kid slapped me, so I had to pin him.  Then I got really excited when I realized I had won the tournament.”  Daniel Copeland (195) posted an equally impressive 7-0 record, with 4 pins, and his first tournament championships.  Daniel pinned the Irwin wrestler in the semifinals and defeated Toombs County 3-2 in the finals.  “It feels great to win a tournament after so many years of wrestling.  I am very proud of our team for the great finish we had,” stated Daniel.  The last match of the weekend was won by Shakeem Lassiter at 285.  He defeated Dodge County 4-1 in the semifinals and then put on a takedown clinic against Treutlen’s heavyweight which ended in a pin.  Shakeem matched the 7-0 record posted by his teammates, with 3 pins, and his first tournament championship.  Shakeem stated, “I have been working for a long time for this and it feels great to win a tournament.”  Coach Ferry added, “We are very proud of how our guys wrestled this weekend.  We put eight in the medals last weekend, but did not fare as well in the semis and finals.  Our guys picked up the pace in the medal rounds and posted some impressive wins.  What’s even more impressive is that we did this filling only ten of fourteen weight classes.  This was a total team effort this weekend.”

Vidalia was able to enter five additional wrestlers as a non-scoring junior varsity team.  Jesses Conley (138) went 2-3, Chris Jones (182) went 1-4, Anitquell Barras (195) went 3-2, Nic Beale (220) went 2-3, and Sam Collins wrestled his first tournament at 285.

The Indians will return to action hosting the first round of the region dual tournament on January 3 followed by a trip to Annandale, Virginia the following weekend to wrestle in a big tournament.

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