After losing a tough first-round match by a point, Lakeside High School’s JaVeon Brigham (26-5) fought his way through the 170-pound bracket to a fourth-place finish at the 2012-2013 GHSA Class AAAAA Traditional State Wrestling Tournament.
The first match, a 5-4 loss to Woodland’s Jermell Lewis, saw the Panthers’ senior give his all.
“We had to carry him off the mat, he fought hard,” said Panthers wrestling coach Brad Freeman, whose team finished 32nd with 17 points. “After that I think every match he faced, I think he realized that if he lost his career was done.”
Brigham’s trek through the three-day event then included a 6-5 win over OLA’s Aaron Branch, pinning South Paulding’s Jacob Sledge, beating Glynn Academy’s Kenneth Sledge 10-7, winning another close decision 7-5 over Creekview’s Hunter Udall before falling 6-1 to Stephenson’s Darion Perry in the final match.
Lakeside’s 195-pound senior Brad Sankey (26-3) entered with a 24-1 record and alternated wins and losses before a 4-3 loss to Union Grove’s Tyler Cooley in his fourth match of the tournament.
Grovetown finished with three points as 120-pounder Jessie Maya (32-5) won his first match before dropping the next two.
Evans tied with three other schools for 41st with three points. At 160 pounds, Monty Britton (48-10) lost his initial match, won his second and was eliminated after the third. Josh Manley (37-14) lost both his matches at 182 pounds as did Matt Gruba (36-18) at 195 pounds.