By Anthony Gagliano
VALDOSTA -- In two days, Lowndes Middle School's wrestling team picked up two points on Valdosta. If the Vikings can keep up that pace they might be able to overtake the defending South Georgia Athletic Conference champion Tomcats by the time the conference meet rolls around Jan. 29. For now though, Valdosta, a combination of Valdosta Middle School and J.L. Newbern, has bragging rights after beating LMS 47-21 on Friday and 53-19 on Tuesday.
"We expect by the end of this year it will be a really close match," first-year LMS coach Christopher Bell said.
That would be a feat in of itself. No one has been able to contend with the strength and skill of Valdosta as the Tomcats are 7-0 in dual meets and own first-place trophies from both of the tournaments they've entered. Lowndes' 21 points Friday was the most by any opponent yet.
"The rivalry is always there," Valdosta coach Keith McConnehead said. "Those guys are gunning. They're getting better and better as days go on."
Lowndes' Justin Howard showcased his improvement by avenging a loss on Tuesday. Valdosta's Ahmad Williams pinned Howard in the second period in their last meeting, but Howard reversed the roles Friday, catching Williams with a nice move.
Sixth-grader Zac Freeman picked up another crucial victory for LMS (4-3). He won a tightly contested bout at 114 pounds with Jamie Childree, taking the match 8-2. Lance Muloney pinned James Hines at 100 pounds, and Garrett Hancock recorded a pin at 107 pounds for the last of LMS' points.
"We have a lot of new wrestlers," Bell said. "But, they're catching on very fast."
Other than those four matches it was domination by the Tomcats. They picked up six more pins on Friday to bring their running total to 179 this season.
Valdosta 47, Lowndes 21
73 pounds: Demetrius Thompson (V) p. Roger Kendrick (L)
79 pounds: Kyle Naville (V) p. Evan Shuman (L)
88 pounds: Justin Brown (V) p. Jamie Randall (L)
92 pounds: Javon Scott (V) tech Tyler Armstrong (L)
100 pounds: Lance Muloney (L) p. James Hines (V)
107: Garrett Hancock (L) p. Corbin Williams (V)
110: P.J. Franklin (V) d. Andrew Moody (L), 8-7
114: Zac Freeman (L) d. Jamie Childree (V), 8-2
119: Wesley Welch (V) p. Chase Roberson (L)
121: Michael Ansley (V) d. Kade Willison (L), 7-2
125: Tyler Morrison (V) p. Brandon Johnson (L)
130: Kyle Belcher (V) p. Jason Fletcher (L)
140: Michael Gilliard (V) d. Josh Haskins (L), 12-7
190: Justin Howard (L) p. Ahmad Williams (V)
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