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ECI wrestling completes second season

The ECI wrestling team recently completed their second season. This season saw lots of growth and improvement for the team. Their record improved from 6-13 in their initial year to finishing strong with a winning season of 18-9. These wins were against other 1A schools like Bryan County, Treutlen County, and Metter, and much bigger schools like Burke County, Houston County, and Statesboro.

The team also saw a few other successes within the program. This year, both a middle school team and a girls’ team were added. The middle school wrestlers traveled to Toombs County for the Middle School All-Area Tournament. The following students medaled in their weight class: Turner Bryant won gold, and Tucker Bryant, Braylin Lanier, and Lane Vanhorn all earned silver medals.

The girls’ team had a total of five wrestlers. Lilly Hammond and Destine Hirschy competed at the Area Tournament, with Destine advancing through Sectionals and on to State. Destine battled it out at the State Tournament to place 4th in her weight class against girls from 1A to 7A. The girls are excited to have their own GHSA-sanctioned division next year. This means that girls will only wrestle against other girls.

Many of these athletes earned recognition as All-Area 3A athletes. Students in All-Area 3A 1st team were: Jacin Zamora, Joseph Conner, Heath Davis, and Jordan Handsom. Students in All-Area 3A 2nd team were: Gaven Simmons. All-Area 3A Honorable Mentions were: Clayton Stripling, Jacob McBride, Gage Gay, Jesse Hirschy, and Jaden Handsom.

Not only are these athletes putting in the work on the mat, but also in the classroom. Jacob McBride was named an All-Area 3A Academic Wrestler with Honors. This honor is for those who have a 4.0 average. Earning All-Area 3A Academic Wrestler with a 3.0 or higher average were the following: Destine Hirschy, Gaven Simmons, Jesse Hirschy, Samuel McBride, Clayton Stripling, Gage Gay, Haven Davis, Joseph Conner, and Jordan Handsom.

This year also saw the addition of Mat Dogs, a wrestling program for students in grades 1st-5th. Through the program, 33 young wrestlers came out and began learning all about the sport. These students were encouraged by the middle and high school athletes as they learned the basics.

The ECI Wrestling team had a very successful season. The coaches and athletes are grateful to the parents, teachers, and community members who support them by coming out to watch matches, supporting fundraising efforts, and providing the needed supplies for each match. Wrestling at ECI is not just as a sport; it’s a FAMILY.

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