Pair of Grangers place at state
Published 3:31 pm Monday, February 12, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
MACON – It was a shaky start for LaGrange’s Dexter Fitpatrick, who was beaten by Upson-Lee’s Demarquezs Carter in the opening match at 195 pounds in the Class AAAA state wrestling finals.
While that loss meant Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be able to win a state championship, he still had an opportunity to rebound an earn a place on the podium. Fitzpatrick made it happen.
The junior won his next four matches before falling to Jack FIlipowicz of Blessed Trinity in the third-place match on Saturday.
Fitpatrick was one of two state placers for LaGrange.
The other was sophomore Matt Callaway, who also lost his first match before surging to a fifth-place finish.
Fitzpatrick surged into the state finals after winning an area championship before placing fifth at the state sectional.
He stumbled on Thursday in his opener in the state finals before ripping off four straight wins, and that included a hard-fought 2-1 win over Seamus O’Brien of North Oconee.
“It’s special,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s really a dream come true (to place). I wasn’t sure if I’d make it this far. Through God I did.”
While disappointed to lose his opening match, Fitzpatrick didn’t dwell on it for long.
“At first I was a little down about it,” Fitzpatrick said. “And then one of my coaches said you’ve got no choice but to put it behind you.”
Callaway enjoyed a breakthrough sophomore season that was capped by a fifth-place finish at 132 pounds on Saturday.
Callaway’s opening assignment was a challenging once against Jefferson’s Dawson Bates, who is unbeaten.
Callaway lost that match, but he won his next three before losing to Duwalt Duvenhage of Cairo.
In the fifth-place match, Callaway won by forfeit.
“It was pretty amazing,” Callaway said. “I just worked really hard.”
Callaway credited head coach Scooter Weathers and assistant coach John Rich for helping him reach this point.
He also offered his gratitude to former LaGrange coach Clark Rich, who died in 2016.
“He got me started,” Callaway said.
LaGrange’s other two participants in the finals were seniors Lane Oliver (106 pounds) and John Arthur (160 pounds), and they both went 2-2.
LaGrange finished 14th in the team standings.
“We only have four people here, and to finish top 15, that’s amazing,” Fitzpatrick said. “Next year, we’ll be making a run for number one.”