There's something Sam Jasinski has learned during his four seasons with the Lakeside High School wrestling team - when you fall, there's no choice but to get back up.
The Panthers took a tumble earlier this month, when Cross Creek came to Lakeside and took the Region 3-AAAA duals title.
Jasinski was his team's last hope at the region duals, but when he got pinned in the final match against Cross Creek, the Razorbacks claimed the crown.
Last weekend at Lakeside, Jasinski and the Panthers got off the mat and delivered some pay-back in the traditional Region 3-AAAA tournament.
"I couldn't let that ruin the rest of my season. Losing in the region duals was something I used to motivate myself," said Jasinski, who won three matches Saturday en route to a region championship in the 189-pound weight class.
It was every man for himself in Saturday's match, where wrestlers grappled for individual region titles. The top four placers in each weight class clinched spots in the upcoming Class AAAA state tournament, but wrestlers also competed for team points.
Glenn Sargent (left) from Jones County defeated Lakeside's Garrett Testa in the 119-pound weight class championship match but Lakeside won the tournament.
Photo by Mike Howell
Lakeside came up big on both counts - Jasinski, Mike Ingham and Tim Mitchem each won their weight class, and six other Panthers placed to help lead Lakeside past Cross Creek in the team standings.
"I knew we had a strong team, and didn't show it in the duals," Lakeside coach Randy Hill said. "My guys did a good job and finished up well."
For Jasinski, the finish was like a dream come true. In his final match at Lakeside, the senior captain won the first title of his four-year career.
"It's pretty emotional, knowing you've put four long years in," he said. "I had to go in knowing that this was mine for the taking. It was something that I've earned. You have to go into a match with that mentality and you can't second-guess yourself."
Greenbrier sophomore Jay Adkins had no doubts. He won three straight matches to take the title in the 275-pound weight class, and when he stepped on the mat, Adkins had just one thing in mind.
"Pin the guy as fast as I can and get out of there," he said.
Adkins competed in the final match of the day, and although he was the only Wolfpack wrestler to place first, six other Greenbrier wrestlers secured spots in this weekend's state championships in Rome.
"We had seven people in the semifinals, and I think that's great," Adkins said.
The state meet will cap a hectic stretch for the Lakeside wrestling program. The school was the site of the Region 3-AAAA duals and the Class AAAA state duals earlier this month, then played host to last weekend's traditional region tournament.
"It's been four tough weeks of good wrestling," Hill said. "We're about wore out, but you have to stay intense. We're hoping to have a few guys finish strong at state, and the younger wrestlers are going to gain some experience."
For Jasinski, experience is more valuable than the gold medal he was wearing last Saturday.
"We've built a tradition here, and you can see it spreading throughout the county and in the Augusta area," he said. "Every year the local wrestlers are getting better and better, and soon you'll see the local teams competing with the best teams in the state. I've been glad to be a part of that."
Region 3-AAAA wrestling championships
Team scores: Lakeside 178; Cross Creek 133; Jones County 131.50; Greenbrier 105; Burke County 100; Butler 92.50; Hephzibah 90.50; Baldwin 45.50; Glenn Hills 26.
Columbia County placers: 103-pound weight class - Dennis Miller, Lakeside (second); 119 - Garrett Testa, Lakeside (second); 125 - Tim Mitchem, Lakeside (first), Corey Beckworth, Greenbrier (third); 130 - Eddie Lee, Lakeside (second); 140 - Mike Ingham, Lakeside (first), Cole Spoon, Greenbrier (second); 145 - Corey Durrence, Greenbrier (fourth); 152 - Jon Tillman, Greenbrier (second), Taylor Pennington, Lakeside (fourth); 160 - Mark Diamond, Greenbrier (third), Jay Krenz, Lakeside (fourth); 189 - Sam Jasinski, Lakeside (first); 215 - Donaven Lowe, Lakeside (second); 275 - Jay Adkins, Greenbrier (first).
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