DULUTH, Ga. -- The Gordon Lee High School wrestling team has had to overcome adversity at nearly ever step this season, and if the Trojans are to win that elusive state championship, they'll have to do it one more time.
Gordon Lee sits second to defending champion Bremen in Class A after the semifinal round of the GHSA Traditional Championships, trailing 112 points to 103 1/2 after an up-and-down Friday at the Gwinnett Arena. State duals champ Holy Innocents' is third with 90 1/2 points but has only two finalists.
The Trojans, who have had to deal with the death of senior Jordan Queen just before the start of the season and losing to Holy Innocents' in the duals final on a controversial call the school is still fighting, will have four wrestlers in today's championship round, but Bremen has five.
Coach Brent Raby believes, despite the odds, the title is within reach.
"We've got a ton of points [possible] in the wrestle-backs," Raby said. "We had a few kids get upset, but they're still alive. We're head-to-head with Bremen at 113 pounds in the wrestle-backs Saturday morning, and that could decide it all. I like where we're sitting. The four kids we have in the finals are all considered favorites.
"Tomorrow will be an interesting day, and if we show up I think we'll win a championship."
Still alive for the Trojans in the finals are 106-pound freshman Johnny Ragsdale, 138-pound Kory Allmond, 160-pound Ethan West and 195-pound Corey Jewell, whose 30-second pin of Charlton County's James Carter capped the eventful day. Jewell, like his coach, believes the program's first state championship is a possibility today.
"I've had a good day with two pins in the first period," Jewell said. "And the kid I will be wrestling in the finals I've already beaten twice. We need a lot of help, but we can do it. We had a couple of people not get what we wanted, but they can wrestle back and get a lot of points.
"Winning a team title would mean so much, especially after all that's gone on. Also, with Class A changing next year, a title then won't mean quite as much, so we want to win one this year with a full field."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...