Six LaGrange wrestlers headed to state
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Six LaGrange High wrestlers, including one who made a run at a championship last season, will share the stage with the state’s top wrestlers this week.
The Class AAAA traditional state tournament will be held in Macon on Thursday and Friday, and six LaGrange wrestlers will be there.
To make it to state, a wrestler had to finish third or higher in his weight class at Saturday’s area tournament at Troup High.
There will be 24 wrestlers in each weight class at state, and the top six finishers will return home with a medal.
Among LaGrange’s qualifiers is senior Jacob Anderson, who finished fourth in last year’s state meet.
At the area meet, Anderson made it to the championship match at 160 pounds before falling to Hardaway’s Christian Curry in a hard-fought match.
In went to overtime, with Curry eventually prevailing 6-4.
It has, despite that disappointment, been an exceptional season for Anderson, who’ll bring a 29-4 record into the state finals.
Earlier this season, Anderson didn’t shy away from his lofty objective of being the last man standing in his weight class.
“I want to win it. That’s my goal,” Anderson said. “I think I can if I stay focused.”
Two other LaGrange wrestlers, Colin Cavender (138 pounds) and Julian Santiago (152 pounds), also finished second at the area tournament.
Santiago, who lost to Troup High’s Kullum Irvin in the 152-pound championship match, has had a big senior season, and he carries a 17-3 record to Macon.
“I’m satisfied with how I did (at area),” Santiago said. “It’s better than I’ve done the past two years. He’s a good opponent. I know I have a chance to beat him, I just have to wrestle smart.”
Santiago is eager to test himself against the best wrestlers in the state.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” Santiago said. “I’m excited to go to state. I believe I have a great chance to get on the podium.”
Cavender made it to the final match at 138 pounds before losing to Tyler Secoy of Columbus High.
Cavender, a senior, has an exceptional 33-3 record, and he could be poised to make a nice run at state.
“I feel like I’m wrestling really good,” Cavender said. “I don’t have too many losses under my belt. I think I’m doing pretty good.”
Whatever happens in Macon, this will be Cavender’s final go-around as a high-school wrestler, and he’s looking to making the most of his opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Cavender said. “For the whole year, I’ve been looking forward to it. It’s my last chance.”
One of LaGrange’s third-place finishers was sophomore Tayvon Howard, who was involved in arguably the best match of the day.
Howard and Caiden Pate of Columbus needed four overtimes to determine a winner in the third-place match, and Howard won 3-2.
While the victory secured a place at state for Howard, Pate’s season came to a close with the loss.
Also finishing third for LaGrange were Hunter Brooks (120 pounds) and Grayson Whaley (132 pounds), while Sean Shirey (106 pounds) placed fourth and came up just short of qualifying for state.
106 – Sean Shirey (fourth)
120 – Hunter Brooks (third)
132 – Grayson Whaley (third)
138 – Colin Cavender (second)
152 – Julian Santiago (second)
160 – Jacob Anderson (second)
170 – Alec Morrissette (fourth)
182 – Tayvon Howard (third)