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“A special time for a special group”
Bringer and Anderson
South Effingham wrestling coach Christopher Bringer has instructions for Ashton Anderson during the Class 6A traditional state wrestling championships at the Macon Centreplex during the weekend. Bringer has directed the Mustangs to three team titles and five individual titles during his five years as head coach. (Submitted photo.)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald


South Effingham wrestling coach Christopher Bringer had hoped for nothing less than six state championships for his six wrestlers who entered Saturday’s Class 6A traditional finals at the Macon Centreplex.

Eli Wood and Ashton Anderson won the 138-pound weight class and 285-pound weight class respectively. And the team took home another state title.

It wasn’t the desired gold rush but …

“It was a special time for a special group,” Bringer said. “This was a group that changed the culture here. No one missed practices. They picked each other up. They hung out together. Without them, we wouldn’t be who we are.”

Make no mistake, in two short years South Effingham has become a state wrestling powerhouse.

The Mustangs won a state dual title in 2023, then repeated in 2024. This traditional season only added to SEHS’ budding legacy. Twelve wrestlers advanced to the state tournament and the team had two champions, four second-place finishes, two thirds and a sixth-place finish.

South won the team title going away with 176.5 points. Woodward Academy was second with 122 points followed by Jackson County’s 111.5 and Glynn Academy’s 102.

Ashton Anderson
South Effingham's Ashton Anderson won his second Class 6A wrestling state championship in the 285-pound weight class Saturday night at the Macon Centreplex. (Submitted photo.)
Anderson (59-5) became the first SEHS wrestler to win back-to-back titles. He defeated rival River Creel of Brunswick 4-1 in double overtime to avenge a loss to Creel at the traditional region tournament.

Wood (57-7) defeated Jefferson Cuttino of Glynn Academy 2-1 after Cuttino was penalized a point for stalling in the final nine seconds to break a third-period deadlock.

Wood lost to Cuttino at region and state duals and the region traditional tournament before reversing the trend at Sectionals.

Bringer was happy for his seniors Anderson and Wood, but admitted being down after his sons Brandon “Moose” Bringer and Brayden “Bear” Bringer fell short.

Moose (57-2) dominated the 157-pound weight class throughout the winter but lost to Woodward Academy’s Dylan Reel 6-4 in the state finals.

Bear (54-10) lost his two matches at 132.

“As a dad, I was devastated,” Coach Bringer said.

At 144, Gannon White (51-7) had a heart-breaking 6-5 loss to Jack Garrett of Blessed Trinity Catholic after winning three matches to get to the finals.

Sectional champion Emilio Santana (55-7) advanced to the finals with two wins before dropping an 8-2 decision to Brunswick’s Clayton Hicks at 120.

Freshman Adam Hardeman (54-11) suffered a fall in the finals after winning three times at 106.

Seniors Jacob Stellhorn (49-12) and DaMyon McFarlin (53-5) battled through the consolation brackets at 126 and 175 to claim third-place finishes.

Alarik Gibson (52-12) won three matches and took sixth in the 113-pound weight class.

Bobby Craun (36-15) and CJ Lord (53-12) registered a win at 165 and 215 respectively but didn’t finish in the top six.

Effingham County’s lone participant at state Kevin Poythress (25-12) won three matches and placed sixth in the 150-pound weight class.

(More stories in Sports.)