Lee County wrestling coach Tom Matheny watches his team wrestle during a recent match against Coffee at Colquitt County. The Trojans finished third this past weekend as Coffee and Valdosta advanced to the state duals.

Lee County’s wrestling team finished third at the Class 6A, Region 1 duals Saturday at Valdosta, falling short of qualifying for this week’s state duals in Macon.

Lee County went 2-2, starting with a 72-6 win over Northside of Warner Robins then losing to Valdosta 40-22 in a defensive-oriented dual. The Trojans bounced back to beat Houston County 72-11 and gave eventual region champ Coffee a spirited battle before losing 38-27.

Coffee along with Valdosta qualified for the state dual meet.

A lack of a needed win by pin cost Lee County, which managed only one against Valdosta and two against Coffee.

Phin Johnson and Aiden Chilson led Lee County at the meet, both going 4-0. Johnson, wrestling in the 132-pound weight class, and Chilson, competing in the 195-weight class, both won three matches off a pin.

Conner Bruner (120) and Jose Hernandez (113) both went 3-0 with Bruner winning of his matches off a pin, while Hernandez had two pins and one forfeit.

Riley Brewer (106) and Justin Gregory (152) all went 3-1 on the day. Brewer earned two pins and a decision, while Gregory had a pin, a forfeit and a major decision victory.

Lee County won 13 of the 14 individual match-ups against Northside with all 13 wins coming off a pinfall. Those winners were Brewer (106 pounds), Hernandez (113), Bruner (120), Ethan Dooley (126), Johnson (132), Kobe Bailey (138), Cedric Wynn (145), Gregory (152), David Lowe (160), Bradyn Suber (171), Dylan Burke (182), Chilson (195) and Jeffery Bryan (285).

The Valdosta-Lee dual, which going on was expected to be for the second spot behind Coffee, was a defensive battle. Of the 14 weight classes, eight were decided by decisions as wrestlers from both teams refused to give up pins. Valdosta won five of those eight decisions, including two by one point.

The Trojans couldn’t get the needed pins to rack up team points, gaining only one, while the Wildcats had three. Valdosta gained a key disqualification win at 160 for an illegal slam (unintentional) and forfeited the other weight class at 113.

Winning for Lee County were Brewer (106, 5-1 decision), Hernandez (113, forfeit), Johnson (132, 4-1 decision), Gregory (152, 12-4 win) and Chilson (195, first-period pin).

The Trojans dominated Houston County, winning 11 of 14 matches, nine off pins. Winning for Lee County were Riley Brewer (106, first-period pin), Hernandez (113, second-period pin), Bruner (120, second-period pin), Dallas Brewer (126, second-period pin), Johnson (132, first-period pin), Bailey (138, second-period pin), Wynn (145, win by forfeit), Gregory (152, win by forfeit), Lowe (160, first-period pin), Suber (171, third-period pin), Burke (182, first-period pin) and Chilson (195, second-period pin).

In the final dual against Coffee, Johnson got Lee County off to a good start with a first-period pin at 132 pounds, but Coffee won the next six matches, five off decisions, including two by a point and one by two points, as Lee County again couldn’t get the needed pins.

Logan Frost lost a tough 4-3 decision at 145, Wynn was pinned in the second period at 152, Gregory lost 9-5 at 152, Lowe 8-6 at 160, Suber 14-2 at 171 and Burke 2-1 at 182.

Chilson earned a 5-1 win at 195 to keep the Trojans alive, down 22-9 with six matches left.

However, Coffee earned first-period pins at 220 and 285 to go up 34-9 and seal up the team decision.

Riley Brewer lost a 13-5 decision at 106 before Lee County finished on a strong note as McMinn (113) and Dooley (126) earned a forfeit each and Bruner (120) earned a pin 16 seconds into the second period.

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