It is obvious your new sports writer doesn't know much about wrestling, and even less about wrestling in Columbia County. The story in Sunday's edition of The News-Times, "Evans wrestlers top ARC as Lakeside no-shows," made two coaches look bad and spent one-third of the story talking about a team that wasn't even present!
As a Lakeside High wrestling parent, I have the team schedule for the season. The match with Evans was not listed on our schedule. The fact that the coach from Evans is counting this as a region win is meaningless.
The State Duals Tournament was the weekend of Jan. 18-19. The only reason duals tournaments are being held now is to give wrestlers more tournament time and to improve their records for region seedings and, I guess, bragging rights. The Lakeside-Evans matchups would read like this: Dec. 12, Lakeside 54, Evans 27; Jan. 15, Lakeside 46, Evans 30; and on Evans' books, Jan. 22, Evans 84, Lakeside 0.
As for Coach Randy Hill not getting his team to Evans, why would he want to miss a match so close to home? Hill schedules some of the toughest tournaments in the state for his wrestlers. He knows tough competition makes better wrestlers. This is the reason he has had two state champions, numerous state placers and consistently places three or more wrestlers in the top 16 at state.
Lakeside also has region duals championships. For many years, Lakeside was the only Columbia County school with a wrestling program. Before the Georgia High School Association changed the rules for "mat clubs," Hill coached the mat club here and trained wrestlers from all over the county.
Two years ago, Lakeside played host to a wrestling clinic by Nate Carr, an Olympic bronze medalist, and invited wrestlers from the area. Greenbrier sent most of its team and its coach; some of the wrestlers who attended are those you see winning today.
Under Hill's leadership, Lakeside has held many region tournaments, and when state duals "traveled," the school played host to the state duals tournament. Two assistant coaches in this county wrestled for Hill.
This story was an insult to a man of integrity who has done more than anyone to promote and support Columbia County wrestling and wrestlers.
I hope the new sports writer learns a bit about the sport so future stories tell us about matches and wrestlers, not about mistakes coaches make.
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