The Lithonia High School junior varsity wrestling team finally won the DeKalb County Junior Varsity wrestling title on Dec. 22 after placing third twice in the last three years.
Lithonia won the tournament with a score of 190.5. They outscored McNair (171.5), Southwest DeKalb (167.5) and Stephenson (127) to win the county title.
Wrestling coach Patrick Ryan said it felt good to finally win first place.
“It feels good that all of the hard work has paid off,” he said. “I’m very proud of my guys.”
The Lithonia Bulldogs had six wrestlers to move on to the final round and had three champions— Desmond Robinson (132-pound weight class), Christian Sanders (138-pound weight class), and DJ Wallace (220-pound weight class). They also had three runner ups—Shamel Findley (113-pound weight class), Chris James (160-pound weight class), and Davion Findley (170-pound weight class).
Te’Andre Newell pinned his way to a convincing third place win and David Williams (fourth place), Starling Johnson (fourth place) and eighth-grader Victor Piedra all contributed to the Bulldogs’ final score.
Ryan is hoping his varsity squad will have the same success at the DeKalb County Tournament on Jan. 25-26. Some of the varsity wrestlers are having a successful season so far.
Sophomore Kirkglen Hudson is 28-0 on the season in 106-pound weight class, sophomore Shamel Findley is 30-4 in the 113-pound weight class, and first year wrestler Devon Wallace is 18-2 in the 22- pound weight class.
In Ryan’s four years as the wrestling coach at Lithonia, the Bulldogs finished in the top five of the varsity county tournament twice, had 12 state qualifiers and one two-time state placer and state runner-up—Anthony Smith. Smith placed sixth in the 140-pound weight class in 2010 and state runner-up in the 152-pound weight class in 2012. The senior received a wrestling scholarship to Brewton-Parker College.
Ryan said hopes his varsity team will win a county title this season.
“It’s been a work in progress getting these kids better,” he said. “But, we’re starting to get better.”