First-year Trojan coach Ryan Wilman said his guys came out focused and ready to go and didn’t look past the Mustangs, getting quality efforts throughout the lineup.
“Really, from the performance overall, I just saw our guys were focused in. They did a great job of preparing this week and going out and focusing on the task at hand. They didn’t overlook South Effingham and really put out a great effort and came away with a good, quality win,” Wilman said.
The Trojans got a victory from Bryan Johnson at 106 pounds, along with wins from Christian Gutierrez (113), Chris Foster (120), Jake Adcock (126), Rhett Hembree (138), Turner Martin (145), Jim Edgar (152), Taylor Lujan (160), Dan Harris (170), Austin McLeod (182), Travis Joyce (195) and Murphy Hagen (220).
Wilman was also encouraged in the two setbacks on the night, as Gabe Ledford stepped in at 132 pounds and battled, while newcomer Trevor Newsome fought his way to a decision at heavyweight after just joining the team this week.
With 220-pounder Stephen Thompson sidelined due to a shoulder injury, Newsome joined the Trojans this week and had just three days of practice under his belt prior to his first high school match — at the state duals, no less.
“He stepped out there and wrestled an entire six minutes to put up a pretty good match. He ended up losing by decision, but he went after it and has only been in the wrestling room for three days. So stepping out and wrestling his first high school match, I was very impressed with what he was able to do,” Wilman said.
The other highlight of the night was Edgar’s triumph at 152.
“Jim’s been kind of a mainstay in the lineup, and he’s got the lion’s share of the studs. We send him out and he always gets some pretty tough matches. He’s wrestled Cody Dickerson twice from Alexander. But he ended up going out there and beating their kid, 6-3. So we’re super-pumped for Jim. He’s been putting the time in and taking his lumps all year, so I loved seeing him win a match at the state duals,” Wilman said.
The Trojans return to the mat this morning to meet Locust Grove, which beat Lithonia, 49-24, on Thursday evening. Wilman expects a tougher test for the right to face the winner of top-seeded Gilmer and Perry this evening in the semifinals.
“They’ve got eight returning state qualifiers and four returning state place-winners. The good news for us is we match up very well with them. Their best weight classes are 138 through 195, and our best weight classes are 126 to 195,” Wilman said of Locust Grove.
“I feel really good about the match. I think it will be a lot closer than [Thursday’s] match. I don’t foresee us pinning as many kids through the strength of our lineup, but I do think we’ll walk away with a lot of close wins through there and advance to wrestle Gilmer in the semifinals [Friday] evening.”
Mt. Zion and Bremen will open action at the state duals today in Class A and AA, respectively, with the Eagles facing Turner County in the first round, while the Blue Devils take on Fitzgerald.