published Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Smith in finals with McCalmon

DULUTH, Ga. —LaFayette came into the GHSA Traditional Wrestling Championships with no chance to win a team title, but that didn't stop the Ramblers from making some noise on day two at the Gwinnett Center.

Two LaFayette wrestlers will compete in today's finals—one whom most expected to be there and one few outside of the Ramblers program and fans gave much of a shot. Two-time champion Preston McCalmon wrestled a technically strong match to defeat Eastside's Kevin Thompson 8-0, displaying the confidence and knowledge that comes from reaching the finals four consecutive seasons.

The surprise of the day, though, was LaFayette 145-pounder Dalton Smith, who was not seeded among the top four in his class. The senior, who failed to place in his first varsity action last year here, upset top-seeded Rodney Henson of Henry County, 6-1. Afterward, he could barely contain his emotions.

"I've worked my whole life and it finally paid off," he said. "Nothing feels better. There were lots of hard work in practice and drilling hours. I've got to focus and not be satisfied and go after what I've worked so hard for. I can't let anybody take it away."

Coach Lee Dendy praised Smith's effort and work ethic.

"He's just a workaholic," Dendy said. "He's been there every day and he just gets after it. He's got a college mentality about the way he brings his game. He never gets tired. To come down here after not placing last year and make it to the finals says something about him.

"He couldn't crack the lineup until his junior year because we had all those good guys ahead of him. He bided his time and he's really earned it this year."

McCalmon, who is headed to Arizona State on a wrestling scholarship, said his teammates deserved credit for his individual achievement.

"I'm just real proud of everybody who is laying it on the line in the tournament and all the kids who didn't make it who continued to come to the practice room," he said.

Improbable Bruins win

Northwest Whitfield heavyweight Adam Selby was getting thrown around like a rag doll in his consolation quarterfinal match. Outweighed by a good 30 pounds, Selby found himself trailing 13-2 with under 30 seconds to go when he caught his opponent off guard and stuck him.

"I just stuck with it," Selby said. "All week we practiced not giving up, and I didn't. I'm getting used to it, wrestling at 230 against 260. He underhooked me and I overhooked it and tripped him to his back and got a pin. I've never won one like that."

about Lindsey Young...

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 ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.