Wrestler: Derrick Laney
This was supposed to have been Laney’s crowning achievement. The Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe senior 215-pounder, already a two-time state champion, wanted to go out in style. He wanted to pin every opponent and walk away from the sport in dominant fashion before beginning a football career at West Georgia State University.
It took all of one week for those plans to disappear. After one of his first matches went the distance, Laney tore rib cartilage in a match against Walker Valley’s Isaiah Simpson. Laney returned and won the area title and then pinned all but one opponent at the state tournament on the way to his third championship.
“I did think about not returning, but once I started working out, I knew I wanted to try,” said Laney, who ended his prep career with 136 wins by pin and a 171-6 record. “I couldn’t achieve my goals any longer of the perfect season, but I wanted that third title.”
Laney received the Sean Hage Award, given each year to Georgia’s most dominating wrestler.
Coach: Steve McDaniel
Ten years into his latest (and final, he says) building project, McDaniel is a satisfied coach. The veteran of 30-plus years of coaching wrestling still yearns to take his Gordon Lee team to a state title but is happy if he thinks his squad left everything on the mat — like this year’s. The Trojans clearly were Georgia’s secondbest Class A team this season. It just so happens the best team, Bremen, is in the same region. Gordon Lee finished second to their rivals in the area, state dual and traditional tournaments. “We did get as much out of them as we could,” said McDaniel, who had three individual state champions. “Honestly, Bremen was better than we were, and it doesn’t bother me to finish second when you know you are the second-best team. I have finished second when I thought we were the best team, and that does hurt.”
He was a AAAA state runner-up after winning the area title in a season that included 48 wins.
He ended with a 203-38 career record and his second area title before a second-place state finish.
He passed 200 wins in a 64-2 season and moved down and won the 135-pound state title.
He won a state title in his fourth GHSA appearance, running his career mark to 194-37.
He went 59-6 to wind up 180-49 for his career, with his second consecutive individual state title.
He was a Class AAAA runner-up despite a dislocated shoulder and ended 204-31 for his career.
He went 45-5 this season for 171 career wins and earned his second state title in a row.
His second straight state title capped a 58-8 season, running his career record to 169-20.
He was 58-2 with a Class AAAA championship, his fifth tournament title of the season.
He was 44-8 with 30 pins, repeated as area champion and finished third in the Class AA state.
He won a Class A state title and set a school record with 46 pins among his 56 wins.
The Area 7-AA champion finished fifth in the state and was a key part of both area team titles.
He was 53-13 this year, finishing third in the state after winning the area and two other tournaments.
A 63-4 record and third-place state finish this year capped a career that included a state title.
Cory Canada: Heritage, junior, 145 pounds
Mika Clark: Gordon Lee, freshman, 103 pounds
Andrew Gilbert: LaFayette, junior, 171 pounds
Cody Goins: Heritage, junior, 130 pounds
Ky Hart: LaFayette, senior, 160 pounds
Aaron Hatch: Sonoraville, senior, 215 pounds
Hunter Knight: Calhoun, sophomore, 152 pounds
Michael Knight: Dade County, junior, 140 pounds
Madison Parris: Lakeview-F.O., senior, 189 pounds
Kenny Sartin: LaFayette, junior, 285 pounds
Alex Spires: Gordon Lee, freshman, 112 pounds
Cody Stiffles: Chattooga, senior, 135 pounds
Jacob Wallace: Ridgeland, senior, 119 pounds
Brandon Wallin: LaFayette, senior, 125 pounds
Teams of the year
1. LaFayette: The Ramblers were second in both AAA state events.
2. Gordon Lee: The Trojans were second in both Class A states.
3. Northwest Whitfield: The Bruins took only five wrestlers to the Class AAAA state and finished second.