published Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Gordon Lee earns state duals title

MACON, Ga. — There will be no appeals filed, no lawyers involved and no doubt about the identity of this year's Georgia Class A wrestling duals champions.

Gordon Lee took care of that Saturday with a 33-30 win over Holy Innocents' in their GHSA final, finally putting to rest a year's worth of tumult and taking back home the first-place trophy the Trojans believed was rightfully theirs last year.

The Trojans registered four pins to none for the Golden Bears, who received two injury defaults after Gordon Lee clinched the title with Shane Farmer's pin at 182 pounds. For the winners it was affirmation of what they've believed for a year after Holy Innocents' was awarded the 2012 title on what was later ruled to be a scoring error.

"For the second year in a row we smashed a team in the finals," Gordon Lee coach Brent Raby said with a smile. "This year was actually closer than last year, but we get to celebrate it properly this year. These 14 wrestlers fought hard every match and they deserve this.

"We were banged up yesterday and we had some injured today, but they hung in there and pulled it out. My hat's off to our guys and to Holy Innocents'. It was a hard-fought match."

Following an opening loss in the match, which started at heavyweight, the Trojans received consecutive pins from Samuel Lance, Johnny Ragsdale and Blake Clayton to roar to an 18-3 lead. For sophomore Ragsdale, whose disqualification in last year's final bout led to the controversial ending, it was the best possible start.

"We knew what we had to do, and to come out like that was exactly what we needed," he said. "It feels amazing to know that we didn't have to fight and we won it square. My teammates came out and wrestled like we're supposed to, and we just took care of business."

An overtime loss at 126 gave the Bears hope, however, and when Stephen Williams won another overtime decision at 160, the Gordon Lee lead was just 24-18. However, Clayton Reeves scored an escape with 42 seconds left in his match at 170 to pull out a 3-2 win, and when Farmer stuck his opponent in 1:22, the lead was 15 with two bouts to go.

The championship was finally the Chickamauga team's.

"It feels great to know that we're the state champs without having to go to court," Farmer said. "The key was just to not get pinned, and we did that. When I went out there, I knew what I needed and I was just ready to pin him and get it over with."

For the Trojans it is, finally, over.

about Lindsey Young...

Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...

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