When a high school wrestling team is shooting for a third straight region title, it's never too early in the season to send a message.
Lakeside's Eddie Lee takes control of Greenbrier's Nick Smith during the Black Cat wrestling tournament Saturday at Lakeside. Lee won his match against Smith.
Photo by Mike Howell
The Lakeside Panthers did just that by winning their own Black Cat tournament last weekend.
By outclassing the competition in Saturday's 14-team event at Lakeside, the Panthers emerged as favorites to claim a three-peat in Region 3-AAAA, but that didn't stop Lakeside coach Randy Hill from sending a message of his own.
"I thought we could win, but now we've got to start competing a little harder," Hill said. "This tournament is a baby compared to the big boys that we'll get later on."
That's not to say the Black Cat hasn't come a long way. The tournament began six years ago with just six teams, but now the event has become a proving ground for local prep grapplers.
"This is a good tournament to start the season off with," Hill said. "It's early in the season, and this is our first tournament. We just want to get some wins and progress as the season goes on."
Greenbrier placed second in the Black Cat, which is exactly where Lakeside wants to see the Wolfpack when the Region 3-AAAA meet rolls around.
"This sets the tone for later on in the year, especially for region," said Lakeside senior Eddie Lee, who placed second in the 119-lb. weight class at the Black Cat. "We've lost a great group of guys, but we're still Lakeside, and we still have a tradition going here. We're the two-time defending region champions, and we want to keep it here at Lakeside."
Scoring at the Black Cat was determined by individual wins, as wrestlers squared off in a double-elimination format. Lakeside wrestlers earned four firsts in individual weight classes, and three Greenbrier wrestlers won individual titles.
"Greenbrier's got a good team," said Hill, who already is preparing for a possible Region 3-AAAA showdown with the Pack. "We've got about seven solid weight classes, and seven that are real young. If we can build that up, we should have a shot at another region championship."
Black Cat wrestling results
Lakeside 248.50; Greenbrier 147; Toombs 125; Westside 86; Evans 80; Hephzibah 75; West Laurens 68; Cross Creek 61; Glenn Hills 56; Vidalia 45; Panthers 38; Burke County 36; Metter 29; Josey 0.
Columbia County individual placers
103-pound: Dennis Miller, Lakeside (second, 2-1); Isabel Mallar, Evans (third, 3-1).
112-pound: Tucker Pennington, Lakeside (second, 1-1); Lee White, Lakeside (third, 3-1).
119-pound: Eddie Lee, Lakeside (second, 2-1); Nick Smith, Greenbrier (fourth, 2-2).
125-pound: Tim Mitchum, Lakeside (first, 3-0); Corey Beckworth, Greenbrier (third, 3-1).
130-pound: Brandon Golden, Lakeside (first, 3-0); Matt Bowers, Evans (second, 2-1).
135-pound: Mike Ingham, Lakeside (second, 3-1); Joseph Brejda, Lakeside (fourth, 3-2).
140-pound: Rhett Carter, Lakeside (first, 3-0); Bobby Becsey, Evans (second, 2-1).
145-pound: Cole Spoon, Greenbrier (first, 2-0); Kyle Hill, Lakeside (second, 2-1).
152-pound: John Tillman, Greenbrier (first, 3-0); Jeff Thornton, Evans (second, 2-1); Taylor Pennington, Lakeside (fourth, 2-2).
160-pound: Kyle Ogletree, Greenbrier (first, 4-0); Jay Krenz, Lakeside (fourth, 3-2).
171-pound: Matt McCulloch, Greenbrier (fourth, 3-2).
189-pound: Sam Jasinski, Lakeside (third, 4-1).
215-pound: Donaven Lowe, Lakeside (first, 3-0); Chris Smith, Greenbrier (fourth, 1-2).
275-pound: Jay Adkins, Greenbrier (second, 2-1); Trey Morris, Lakeside (fourth, 3-2).
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