LaFAYETTE, Ga. - Lee Dendy has seen and coached quite a few wrestling champions in recent years. He can now say he's raising one.
Eight-year-old Garrison Dendy is now the top-ranked 55-pound wrestler in the country after winning the championship in his weight class at the USA Wrestling Asics Folkstyle National Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa, last weekend. The elder Dendy, a former prep champion at LaFayette, now the Ramblers assistant coach and youth program coordinator, put the title in perspective.
"It's an incredible accomplishment," he said. "As far as USA Wrestling is concerned, it's the top tournament. He's been so dedicated to achieve this and it's been his goal all along."
Garrison Dendy began his title run with a technical fall over the Idaho state champion, then defeated the Wisconsin runner-up before facing what would be his toughest match against Cody Goodwin, the Iowa state champion who entered the tournament with an undefeated record. Dendy emerged an 8-6 winner.
"That was the big one," Lee Dendy said. "That kid was tough, and he fought his way back to be the runner-up."
Garrison Dendy defeated a wrestler from Chicago in the semis before earning a 10-0 championship win over a boy from Minnesota.
Lee Dendy noted also that 10-year-old Eli Knight of Calhoun went 6-2 in the 50-pound class to finish in fourth place, one of six Georgians to earn All-American status.