Cavaliers win tourney titles
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a winning day for a trio of Callaway High wrestlers.
Ladarrius Williams, LaQuize Gilbert and Anthony Elliott each won individual championships during the Gary Silva Invitational on Saturday at Gardner Newman Middle School.
Callaway also got a fourth-place finish from Caleb Woody.
Williams, Gilbert and Elliott are veteran wrestlers who helped Callaway enjoy a successful 2018-2019 season, and head coach Jason Boatman said “those are the three that we’ve leaned on with their experience, and they’ve been in big matches before. So that’s really good for them.”
The first of Callaway’s three finalists to take the mat on Saturday was Williams, and he made easy work of his opponent with a first-round pin at 126 pounds.
Williams has done plenty of winning over the years, but before Saturday he’d never captured a tournament championship.
Williams can now cross that off his to-do list.
“It feels good with all the hard work I’ve put in,” Williams said.
Next up for Callaway was Gilbert, and he delivered a dominant performance in the 170-pound division.
Gilbert was ahead 8-0 after two periods, and he ended up winning by major decision.
“It’s very satisfying,” Gilbert said. “We’ve been working hard this whole week. We didn’t take any days off, even over the Christmas break. It’s very satisfying to be able to pull it off.”
Two matches later it was Elliott’s turn, and he had his hands full in the 195-pound final.
Elliott was clinging to a 4-2 lead after two periods before winning with a pin in the third period.
Also for Callaway, Woody placed fourth at 145 pounds to earn a medal.
Callaway is coming off a banner season.
Callaway made its first-ever appearance in the state duals, and it won a match at state against Lamar County.
At the traditional state tournament, Elliott and Gilbert both placed.
Coming off that memorable season expectations are high for the Cavaliers, and Boatman is fine with that.
“When you’ve done something, that’s the expectation, that’s where you want to go,” Boatman said. “You want to build off that and improve off that.
“That’s what you want. You want to strive for that. That should drive us now.”
Callaway will host the state duals on Saturday, and that’ll be a tune-up for the area duals the following week.
“We’re hoping to make it a good prep for that,” Boatman said.
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