Georgia Wrestling

Georgia Wrestling

April 24th, 2011 in Bestofpreps2011

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR

PRESTON MCCALMON

It still burns LaFayette's first three-time state champion that he fell short of winning a 103-pound GHSA title as a freshman. That fact alone explains a lot of the success of the future Arizona State University wrestler. "I wanted to be a four-timer, but I had to settle for three," said McCalmon, who won titles at 112, 130 and 135 pounds to go along with four area titles and numerous other tournament honors. "It's a nice honor to be the school's only three-time champ, because there have been so many great wrestlers to come through." During his 47-1 season, McCalmon worked with some of LaFayette's younger wrestlers. He also spends time helping out with the community's youth program. "It's fun to help the kids," he said. "The older guys helped me when I was coming up. That's one reason the LaFayette program is so good every year."

COACH OF THE YEAR

ERIC ELROD

The Sonoraville coach is the first to admit that, while his program has achieved more in six years of existence than most, it still hasn't reached its main goal of winning a state championship. The Firebirds were runners-up in the duals and traditional tournament to state power Jefferson this year, the third time in two seasons they have finished just behind the champs. Still, Elrod, who must replace nine starters next season, can see the progress made and knows the future is very bright. "In six years we've gone from 'Where's Sonoraville?' to where people want us in their tournaments," said Elrod, who took his team to the prestigious Breckinsville event in Ohio this year. "Now we've got two kids who are being looked at from Ohio colleges. We haven't won our title yet, but we are building our tradition."

FIRST TEAM

Andy Bratton

HERITAGE

Junior/171 pounds

He was 55-15 and finished third at the Class AAA traditional state tournament.

Cory Canada

HERITAGE

Senior/160 pounds

The 2010 145-pound state champ went 60-7 and was fifth in the state in the heavier class.

Mika Clark

GORDON LEE

Sophomore/112 pounds

He followed up a strong freshman season with a state championship and a 54-7 record.

Zane Holder

SONORAVILLE

Senior/189 pounds

The two-time 7-AA champion was 59-13, giving him 160 career victories, and a state runner-up.

Will Jacks

GORDON LEE

Freshman/103 pounds

The area champion had a 50-6 breakthrough season with a Class A state third-place finish.

Dalton Lane

MURRAY COUNTY

Senior/152 pounds

He earned bonus points in every postseason match, culminating in his second state title.

Will Patterson

SONORAVILLE

Senior/285 pounds

Despite regularly being outweighed 75-100 pounds, he won 54 times and was a state runner-up.

Landon Reed

HERITAGE

Junior/125 pounds

The AAA state and twotime area champion went 57-5 record and has 144 career victories.

Brandon Siffles

CHATTOOGA

Junior/140 pounds

One of the area's best in any class, he went 55-3 and won his second state and third area titles.

Dalton Smth

LaFAYETTE

Senior/145 pounds

The relentless worker was a state runner-up, capping a season in which he won 46 times.

Tyler Smith

SONORAVILLE

Senior/215 pounds

He finished second in the Class AA state tournament and went 65-15 this season.

Michael Shepard

HERITAGE

Junior/135 pounds

The first-year starter ended the season with a 53-17 record and a fifth-place state finish.

Alex Spires

GORDON LEE

Sophomore/119 pounds

Already a two-time state champion, he won his second area title and went 70-2 this season.

Jay Teague

SONORAVILLE

Senior/130 pounds

Helping the Firebirds to two state runnerup finishes, he was 35-7 and third in the traditional state.

SECOND TEAM

NICK COKER Trion Senior 215

RICHARD DAVIS Sonoraville Senior 145

CODY GOINS Heritage Senior 130

BRADY HART LaFayette Junior 140

GARRETT HENDERSON NW Whitfield Senior 160

LUIS JUAN Dalton Junior 112

MADISON MARTIN Heritage Junior 119

AUSTIN McGRAW Trion Senior 189

PAUL McKNIGHT Sonoraville Junior 171

JAMIE PHILLIPS Sonoraville Senior 152

KENNY SARTIN LaFayette Senior 285

ETHAN WEST Gordon Lee Freshman 135

JEREMY WHITE SE Whitfield Junior 103

AUSTIN WILLIAMS Sonoraville Senior 125

TEAMS OF THE YEAR

1 SONORAVILLE

The Firebirds gave mighty Jefferson a run for the dual and traditional state titles after dominating their way through Area 7-AA.

2 HERITAGE

The Generals were the traditional and dual state tournament runners-up, and their only losses were to state champion Gilmer County.

3 GORDON LEE

The young Trojans of first year coach Brent Raby were area champions and top three in both the traditional and dual state tournaments.

Photos by Allison Carter. Text by Ward Gossett. Layout by Stacey Wysong.