When Lakeside wrestling coach Randy Hill led his Panthers to the Area 2-AAAA Team Duals Tournament on Saturday, he knew earning a bid to the state duals tournament wouldn't be easy.
Two bids, going to the tournament's top two finishers, were up for grabs among the six 2-AAAA teams. All three Columbia County teams - Lakeside, Evans and Greenbrier - came up short of a state tournament bid, though.
"This is the way I figured it from the start," Hill said. "We snuck by Baldwin, but wrestling five matches makes for a tough day."
Lakeside was the only county team to win a match at the area duals, with wins over Greenbrier, Evans and Baldwin.
The Panthers watched as Effingham County won the competition, and Jones County secured the second state tournament bid by beating Lakeside in the final match of the day.
"The competition was pretty good," Greenbrier coach Mike Meyer said. "Effingham's got a really good team and almost everybody else is pretty even. It's been a dogfight."
The Wolfpack came out of their first dogfight wounded Saturday with a loss to Lakeside in the tournament's opening round. Lakeside senior Kyle Hill recorded the first of his four falls in the tournament against Greenbrier's Matt Wolf.
"Coming in I knew we were young, and we had to fight," Kyle Hill said. "We had never seen Greenbrier and Effingham this year, so we didn't know what to expect."
The tournament wasn't a total loss for the Wolfpack, who were wrestling without senior star Jay Adkins.
Junior Rick Stahman, wrestling in the 175-pound class, remained undefeated in dual competition after recording two falls in the tournament, including a pin against Baldwin that took 18 seconds. Stahman is 26-3 this season.
"I always look forward to going against Lakeside in any sport," he said. "My personal goal was to keep my undefeated dual streak alive."
Evans High School, the third Columbia County team competing Saturday, also went home without winning a match, but one Knight wrestler made a name for himself.
Evans' Dezmone Musgrove, a junior, recorded the Knights' only three points against Lakeside in a decision over Phillip Vrana in the 135-pound weight class.
"This is his first year with us," Evans coach David Adams said. "He's going to have a real good chance of going on to individual competition at state."
Musgrove and the rest of the Columbia County wrestlers will get their chance to compete for a spot in the state tournament in Jones County on Feb. 4 in the Area 2-AAAA Region Traditional Tournament.
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