Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 18, 2013

Young Wildcat wrestlers working to improve

VALDOSTA — After spending a number of years as one of their region’s top wrestling programs, the Valdosta Wildcats are having a rebuilding season this year.

But although the Wildcats have been somewhat down this year, their head coach hopes that this year’s team is laying the foundation for more strong wrestling teams in the future.

“We’ve taken some licks. But hopefully (our wrestlers) are learning and (we’re) doing a good job of teaching morals,” Valdosta head coach Benjy Scarbor said. “Hopefully we can raise kids who make good decisions and know what hard work’s about and (they can) improve.”

For over a decade, Valdosta has had an outstanding wrestling team. Since 2004, Wildcat wrestlers have combined for eight individual state championships and a number of region championships, and Valdosta has won several region team championships. Valdosta finished fourth at the state dual tournament in 2010 and third at the state dual and traditional tournaments in 2011. Between 2003 (when the GHSA began holding region and state dual tournaments) and 2011, the Wildcats finished in the top two in the region and qualified for the state dual tournament every year.

But the championship-winning wrestlers who led Valdosta to most of those titles have graduated. This year’s team is filled with young, inexperienced wrestlers.

“We’ve got a pretty young team, as far as experience level goes,” Scarbor said. “It’s a little different coaching strategy than what you’ve had (the last few years). There’s a lot of teaching going on, a lot of learning, a lot of consoling and mind games and fixing up young wrestlers.”

Senior Clarence Williams, who has won two region titles, is the only wrestler on this year’s squad who has won an individual region title. Williams has wrestled at 152 pounds most of the season, but might move down to 145 pounds for the upcoming individual tournaments. Williams and fellow senior Jarvese Gilliard (who wrestles at 160 pounds) are the team’s captains and most experienced wrestlers.

In several weight classes, Scarbor has used either freshmen, sophomores or upperclassmen who are first-year wrestlers.

Nevertheless, the Wildcats finished second at both the Cook Hornet Classic in Adel and the Fitzgerald tournament. Williams and Gilliard have both won individual tournament titles this season.

Earlier this month, Valdosta finished fifth at the Region 1-6A dual tournament. The region has gotten stronger this year with the addition of 2012 Class 5A state dual champion Camden County, which won the region title this year and finished second at the state meet, as well as Brunswick, which placed fourth at the region dual meet.

This weekend, the Wildcats will compete in a 13-team tournament in Tifton. The Region 1-6A traditional tournament will be held on Feb. 2 at Camden County. The following week, the 6A sectional tournament will take place at Chattahoochee High School in metro Atlanta. The state tournament is Feb. 14-16 at the Macon Coliseum.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowndes_McPherson.jpg Milestones on tap for upcoming season

    Some milestones are destined to occur, like when Georgia Christian hosts David Emanuel on Aug. 22 in the Generals’ first varsity football game since the late 1960s.
    Others will have to wait and see what continues to take shape come Friday when teams can begin fall practice, and especially Aug. 1 when teams can suit up in pads for the first time, such as can Valdosta win its record 24th state title, or can Lowndes capture its fourth state championship under Randy McPherson, or can Valwood and coach Ashley Henderson play in its third straight GISA state championship game?
    As we start to find out the answers to those questions in just a few short weeks — the regular season is just 31 days away — there should be a few more milestones for area coaches to mark 2014 right along with the Generals getting back on the gridiron.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Jimbo.jpg Back on top

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Petrino.jpg Petrino returns to Louisville for first ACC season

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Braves_Marlins JUpton.jpg Jones lifts Marlins past Braves in 10

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ant Smith.JPG Anthony Smith ready for new test in college

    Smith was a three-year starter as a Wildcat and quickly worked his way up as a leader on both the defense and the team as a whole.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wildcats participate in national 7-on-7 tournament

    The Valdosta High Wildcats have been working extremely hard this summer to prepare for the football season. Summer workouts and a plethora of 7-on-7 tournaments and competitions have kept the Wildcats busy.

    July 20, 2014

  • Valwood.jpg A Different Look

    With football summer workouts in full swing, occasionally the intensity and competitive drive can wane going against teammates. But on Friday, Valwood, Brookwood, Lanier County and Tiftarea Academy broke up the monotony by meeting at Goddard Field for a four-team, 7-on-7 passing league.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • pilcher.jpg Berrien competes in 6-team passing camp

    If Ed Pilcher had his way, Berrien High would never throw the football.
    But that doesn't mean the veteran coach doesn't enjoy the opportunity that a passing league, or the six-team passing camp at Cairo on Thursday morning, can provide his Rebels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog