Southland Wrestling Team wins eighth-straight region title
By Staff Reports
ALBANY – On January 23, the Southland Raiders went into Deerfield-Windsor to compete in the region tournament. They left the domain of the Knights with their eighth-straight region championship.
Having won seven region titles in a row, the Raiders were poised and ready to take home another. Southland got off to a great start when Cayce Joyner defeated Will Custer of Deerfield-Windsor to win the championship in the 106-pound weight class. It was sweet revenge for Joyner, having lost to Custer in an earlier match.
In the 113-pound division, Southland’s Landon Griffin made it to the finals and came close to upsetting Jacob Odom of Crisp Academy, but fell just short. In the 120-pound division, Johan Garcia ended up finishing third for Southland. At this point, the Raiders had a first, second and third place finisher to start the tournament.
The success continued for the Raiders as Coleman Fort stepped up and won the championship in the 132-pound weight class, pinning his opponent in the finals. As a result of Fort’s win, the Raiders earned their second region championship in the first five weight classes.
In the 138-pound division, Tyler Kennedy lost a hard-fought match in the last few seconds to the eventual region champion from Valwood. Kennedy ended up finishing in third place. In the 145-pound division, Cole Landreth won his fourth region championship, pinning his opponent in the second round.
The Raiders continued to roll as Sam Copland won the championship in the 160-pound weight class. It was Copland’s first-ever wrestling region championship as he defeated his opponent from Tiftarea Academy in a back-and-forth match.
In the 195-pound weight class, Stephen Barnes pinned his opponent to earn his second consecutive region championship. Southland’s Brody Shattles fought extremely hard in the 152-pound weight class finals, but came up short against his opponent from Crisp Academy.
Senior Captain Morgan Youngdale won his third consecutive region championship. Ragan Norman won the region championship in the 285-pound weight class, and Riley Parker put the icing on the cake when he won his first region championship.
Overall, the Raiders had eight individual champions, two runners-up and two third-place finishers. “I am very pleased with how well we wrestled today”, Southland Head Coach Mike Smith said. “I really feel like we have set ourselves up to have a good showing at the GISA State Championships.”
To sum up the final individual results, the individual region champions were Cayce Joyner, Coleman Fort, Cole Landreth, Sam Copland, Riley Parker, Morgan Youngdale, Stephen Barnes and Ragan Norman. The region runners-up were Landon Griffin and Brody Shattles, and the third-place finishers were Johan Garcia and Tyler Kennedy.
The Raiders will host the GISA State Wrestling Championships on February 2 and 3 at the GSW Storm Dome.
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