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Southland wrestling team takes runner-up honors at state meet

AMERICUS – Southland Academy hosted the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) state wrestling tournament on Feb. 10-11 at the Georgia Southwestern State University Storm Dome in Americus.
The tournament proved to be quite successful for the Southland Raiders, who took home state runner-up honors behind long-time rivals, the Bulloch Academy Gators.
Out of 12 wrestlers representing Southland, the Raiders had nine team members place in the tournament.
Competing in the 126-pound weight class, Southland’s Cole Landreth took the state title for the second year in a row.
The Raiders also produced a trio of state runner-up wrestlers. Morgan Youngdale earned second-place honors in the 182-pound category. Stephen Turton took home a second-place state finish in the 195-pound division, while Ragan Norman earned a runner-up title in the 285-pound weight class.
One young Raider wrestler, Tanner Rundle, earned a third-place finish in the 120-pound class while three more Raiders took fourth-place honors. Brody Shattles came in fourth in the 138-pound weight class. Billy Calcutt earned a fourth-place spot on the dais in the 145-pound division and Stephen Barnes took fourth-place honors in the 220-pound category.
The Raiders had one more team member place in the tourney; Reagan Trollinger, who took a sixth-place finish in the 132-pound weight class.
Southland Academy wrestling coach, Mike Smith, stated that he was pleased with the overall performance of the team. He said that he credits the success of his team to the strong leadership provided by his seniors. Southland’s 2017 senior class consists of Turton, Rundle, and Calcutt. “These young men showed a consistently strong work ethic which definitely influenced the team during the season,” Smith stated. “I would like to thank all those that helped with the State tournament as well as assistant coaches, JR Jones, Ryan Landreth, and Josh Hicks.”
Wrestlers from all over the state competed in the tournament. Athletes from 15 different schools participated in the meet, including Mill Springs Academy, Robert Toombs Christian Academy, John Milledge Academy, Deerfield-Windsor, Crisp Academy, Westfield, Bulloch Academy, Windsor Academy, Pinewood Christian, Terrell Academy, Trinity Christian, Piedmont Academy, Gatewood School, and Valwood School, in addition to Southland.