ALBANY -- With numbers way up from a year ago, the Deerfield-Windsor wrestling program is making strides.
But still standing in the Knights' way are their old stalwarts from Americus, Southland Academy.
The Raiders won the overall team title Thursday night over the Knights during the region duals in Albany with four individual champs and five second-place finishes.
"Southland did it again, and they're very young this time around," said DWS coach Scott Horton, whose program produced three individual champs and three second-place finishers and one third. "They do a good job filling all their weight classes and that's something we're still trying to do."
Southland's Chance Isreal (125 pound weight class), Mitch Grinnel (135), Ryan Singley (140) and Cauldin Smith (152) paced the Raiders with first-place finishes, while Ryan Landreth (103), Colt Stephens (112), Logan Deathridge (160), Lawton Williams (171) and Brandon Jones (189) all took second.
Southland's Andrew Alexander was third in the 215 division and Gary Ingram was third at 130, as was Cody Jones in the heavyweight class.
The win advances the Raiders to the state individual and team state championships in February.
Joining the Raiders in Macon for the state individuals on Feb. 4-5 will be Deerfield's Reid Wright, who won the 112-pound weight class by pinning Stephens, while the Knights' other region champs Thursday were Chandler Lane (130) and Matthew Trammell (189). The wins improved Trammell's overall record this year an impressive 16-3, while Lane moved to 17-3.
"All three were very impressive, but my real kudos go to Matt Trammell," Horton said. "He's wrestled his heart out this year and he's slowly progressed (into one of our best guys)."
DWS, however, won't participate in the team duals with Southland, despite qualifying by finishing second. Horton said it's a numbers game -- and right now Deerfield doesn't have the numbers to compete at that level.
"A year ago, we only had 14 guys and this year we had 23, so we're building the program each year, slowly but surely," he said.
Finishing second for DWS on Thursday was Mac Lanier (145), Noah Horton (152) and Harrison Stadnik (215), while Haden Stuart also placed, finishing third at (103).
BEST OF THE REST:
Sherwood, which fills only a few weight classes on its team, had a region champ emerge Thursday when Javaz Williams finished first in the 171-pound weight class, while DeAndre Taylor took second in the heavyweight division and Ryan Willis was third at 125.
For Westwood, Carlton Brooks won the heavyweight crown and Chase Lamar finished second at 189.