Callaway wrestling wins first area championship in program history

Published 8:30 am Saturday, February 10, 2024

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Callaway wrestling is making history. The Cavaliers brought home their first region championship in wrestling last Saturday when they edged out Eagle’s Landing in dramatic fashion.

“I knew there was an outside shot that we could win if we went in and did what we needed to do,” said coach Robbie Addams, who was beaming with joy. “It came down to the last match because we were losing heading into that. Jojo Shuman went out there, got a pin and we won by four points.

“I turned and looked at coach (Jacob) Rice and told him we made history.”

Shuman was the hero as he had been all season for Callaway. The senior and heartbeat of the team are on a quest to become the first wrestler in program history to win a state championship.

“This means a lot to us because it’s the first time in program history that we have won an area title and it makes me so happy to do it will these guys,” he said. “Now, I want to be the first state champion in school history.”

Adams knows how important it is not to put the cart before the horse as he keeps Shuman grounded and vice versa.

“There is going to be some tough roads to hoe ahead of us,” Addams said. 

Shuman was not the only Cavalier who placed first at the region tournament. Palmer, a freshman, finished first as well, and with so few wrestlers in his weight class, he has already qualified for the state tournament.

“We looked at the brackets before going and thought I might have a shot at it,” Palmer said. “I can just go out there and have fun and put in work.”

Palmer comes from a basketball family, his sister Aniyah played at Troup High and currently plays at Georgia State, but the younger Palmer is carving out his own legacy. This is his first year wrestling and has adjusted to it like a fish in water.

“Palmer, a little kid who has never wrestled before this season, was down by nine points heading into the final round of his match and was able to get a pin,” Addams said. 

The expectations for the wrestlers vary, but Adams knows how big of a tournament this is for seniors Shuman and Elijah Copeland.

“I told Jojo and Elijah that this is their state tournament this weekend because this is the last chance they will have,” Addams said. “I have full faith in those guys and the other five that will be going that they can make it out of sectionals.”

The Cavaliers had eight region placers in total: First- Ayden Palmer (106 pounds), Jojo Shuman (285 pounds), Second- BB Shepherd (138 pounds), Elijah Copeland (144 pounds), Calvin Williams (165 pounds), Josiah Garrett (190 pounds), Third- Julian Dukes (215 pounds), Fifth- Isriel Parks (157 pounds).

Callaway will be hitting the road around the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, traveling to Putnam County for sectionals. 

“It’s win or go home,” Addams said. “We head out at 5:30 in the morning to Putnam County.”