CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. (WRCB) -- Gordon Lee wrestling won it's second straight GHSA State Duals championship Saturday in Macon, yet the celebration that followed felt like its first.
In a way, it was.
The Trojans were initially denied the 2011-12 title due to a scoring error. Holy Innocents was crowned the Class A state champ at the duals, but the GHSA correct its mistake and also crowned Gordon Lee as state champ two months later.
"Last year, we went to state as the underdog and wrestled the best possible match we could wrestle," said head coach Brent Raby. "We out-wrestled Holy Innocents, then the controversy happened. So this season we went in with a chip on our shoulder. We had a purpose, and they fulfilled it.
"It was so great to watch our kids come off those mats and celebrate the win. I'm happy they can call themselves two-time state champs."
This year, the Trojans left no doubt in the rematch.
Shane Farmer's pin at 182 pounds clinched the championship with a 33-18 lead. Gordon Lee gave up injury defaults in the final two matches to allow Holy Innocents to pull within a 33-30 final margin.
Farmer's pin was the fourth of the day for the Trojans, who used early falls from Johnny Ragsdale, Samuel Lance and Blake Clayton for a quick 18-3 lead.
"I think we smashed them both times," said Raby, noting that this year's injury default-aided score was actually closer than corrected final score from a year ago. "We did everything it took to win both duals, and when you look at it now, we haven't lost a dual in Class A in more than two years."
Gordon Lee's celebration erupted immediately when the referee's hand slapped the mat in Farmer's match. Senior Clayton Reeves described what followed as his team making up for lost time and an experience robbed from them a year ago.
"It was really nice to be able to celebrate there at the tournament and finally get to enjoy that ceremony," said Reeves, who won his 170-pound match by a 3-2 decision to set up Farmer's clincher. "It was nice winning it last year and knowing we were champions, but our celebration was after the fact and in our own gym in front of our school, not everyone at the state meet.
"We just didn't get that moment."
Gordon Lee hopes to have a similar moment next month at the state traditional meet. The Trojans enter as the favorite after finishing runner-up a year ago to Bremen, who has since moved up to Class AA.
"These seniors have never finished worst than third in any state tournament they've competed," Raby said. "The duals are great, but I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy and the traditional meet means a lot to me.
"They've put in the time and the effort, and hopefully they'll leave with another state championship."
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