Columbia County's public high school students finished their exams on Wednesday afternoon, but the Greenbrier Wolfpack wrestling team took one more test Wednesday night at Lakeside High School.
The Lakeside wrestlers were the teachers, and the Panthers weren't giving out any extra-credit points.
In the first-ever meeting between the squads, the Panthers showed who's master of the mat by body-slamming Greenbrier for a 69-6 victory.
"They're in our region, so we wanted to set the precedent right away," Lakeside coach Randy Hill said. "Greenbrier is a bump in our road. We lost to them in football, volleyball, cross country and softball. We've found something we can beat them in."
The outcome was never in doubt - Greenbrier is in its first year of wrestling, while Lakeside is an established prep power locally.
Still, Hill and the Panthers were not taking anything for granted. "We were dead serious. We were scared to death of them because we know Greenbrier has tough kids. That's what makes it a great rivalry," Hill said.
The Wednesday action also featured Cross Creek and Hephzibah, but those preliminary duals simply set the stage for the main event - Lakeside vs. Greenbrier.
In the first three weight classes, Lakeside wrestlers Richard Fontimayor (103), Mike Ingham (112) and Chris Fontimayor (119) recorded first-period pins. Jeff Garlington (125) added a second-period pin to push the Panthers up 24-0.
Greenbrier's Greg Siebe and Lakeside's J. P. Dixon went the full three periods, but Dixon prevailed on points in the 130 weight class.
In the subsequent 135 class, when Rhett Carter began toying with the Pack's Cole Spoon, Rhett's brother Blaine had seen enough. "Pin him now," Blaine urged from the sideline. Rhett obliged, and earned a pin in the third period.
Greenbrier avoided a shutout when Josh Inouye won his 140 match by pinning Blake Goolsby.
Lakeside capped things with four quick pins by Sam Jasinski (171), Russell Eberle (189), Blaine Carter (215) and Tanner Richards (275). Additionally, Justin Otis (152) won his match to remain unbeaten; Carter also has not yet lost during his senior season.
Daniel Landon was Carter's latest victim, and their mismatch highlighted the current prep pecking order in Columbia County.
"Daniel's a freshman wrestling up a weight class. The odds couldn't be any more against him, and he scrapped pretty well," Pack coach Russell Schneider said. "Just for him to step into that role and show courage was amazing. I knew Blaine when he was young and just getting started. All of these guys go through the whippings."
For now, Lakeside is the hammer and Greenbrier is the nail - but Schneider believes the pounding serves a purpose. "We learned a lot, and I think by not getting pinned in most cases, we showed a lot of heart."
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