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Traditional region wrestling tourney heads to mats at Lakeside
Ashton Anderson
South Effingham's Ashton Anderson will be looking to defending his state championship in the 285-pound weight class. (Submitted photos)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald


GUYTON – A prolonged celebration for South Effingham’s second Class 6A dual wrestling state championship will have to wait.

The second part of wrestling’s postseason – traditional wrestling – gets underway Feb. 3 with the Region 2-6A tournament at Lakeside High School in Evans. South Effingham and Effingham County athletes will be shooting to place among the top four in their weight class to advance to Sectionals at Brunswick on Feb. 10.

The top six wrestlers in each weight class from the two Class 6A Sectionals will form the 12-man showdown at State Feb. 15-17 at the Macon Centreplex.

“For us, Saturday was much more emotional than last year and I think it took a lot out of us,” said Mustangs coach Christopher Bringer, whose squad edged past Glynn Academy in a tiebreaker to win the state title on Jan. 20. “We took a few days off last week and it showed in practice (by the lack of intensity). Mentally, it’s tough. I had to say, ‘Hey, this is not how we practice’ and we started all over.”

There’s a difference between dual (team) and traditional (individual) wrestling. For duals, coaches may move wrestlers up in weight class to maximize points. Wrestlers also have the team scoring in mind, trying to avoid being pinned or going all out for a pin – a decision is worth three team points and a pin is worth six – depending what the team needs.

But in traditional wrestling, individuals are just looking to win and advance by any possible means.

Last year, Ashton Anderson became the school’s fourth state champion after winning the 285-pound weight class. Ironically, he didn’t place first at Region or Sectional.

Emilio Santana
South Effingham's Emilio Santana could be a top seed in the 120-pound weight class at the region traditional wrestling tournament at Lakeside High School on Saturday.
This year, the Mustangs have a stable of contenders. Bringer said Emilio Santana (44-5 record in the 120-pound weight class), Brayden “Bear” Bringer (46-5, 132), Brandon “Moose” Bringer (46-0, 157), DaMyon McFarlin (42-2, 175), CJ Lord (42-8, 215) and Anderson (47-4, 285) could all be No. 1 seeds going into the region tournament.

South had wrestle-offs for two weight classes. Christopher Hardeman held off the challenge from Mayson Young at 106. Young won 37 matches during the dual season. Hardeman was 43-5.

At 150, Jayven Yilales won the wrestle-off with Shomari Bailey, who had a big win against Glynn Academy in the dual state championships.

McFarlin wrestled at 190 throughout the dual season but was often giving up 10 pounds. He could be a stronger state contender at 175 where he’s more comfortable.

South Effingham's Brandon "Moose" Bringer takes a perfect 46-0 record into the 157-pound weight class competition at the region traditional wrestling tournament at Lakeside High on Saturday.
Moose Bringer, a talented junior who wasn’t tested very often in the dual season, will wrestle at his more natural 157. Moose finished 49-2 and placed third last year in the 132-pound class.

“He feels no pressure whatsoever,” Coach Bringer said. “He can turn off wrestling as soon as he gets home. If he wins a state title, I’ll probably be more excited.”