Southwest DeKalb wins area team duel championship

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The Southwest DeKalb varsity wrestling program claimed another area team duel title.

The Panthers defeated Miller Grove 48-15 to win the Area 5-AAAAA title Jan. 6. Arabia Mountain finished third after beating Cross Keys 42-24 in the consolation round. Southwest DeKalb and Miller Grove qualified for the team dual state championship in Macon Jan. 11-13.

This is Miller Grove’s first trip to the dual state championship in program history. Coach Justin Larmond, who is in his first year as the wrestling coach, said it feels great to get the program over that hurdle.

“The kids worked really hard,” Larmond said. “I got a good group of assistant coaches who do a great job. It feels great to see the look on the kids’ faces, especially the seniors. They are excited. They’ve been wrestling for four years and hadn’t been able to [get this far]. It’s going to be fun.”

Larmond said when he took over the program he changed the infrastructure by bringing in good coaches and more wrestlers into the program.

“I don’t think the numbers were good as they had liked it to be [in the past], so our numbers are a little better and we have more of a supporting cast with the coaches,” he said.

Larmond said if the Wolverines want to be successful at the state championship, they will have to clean up a few things with their skill set.

“We have to work on tightening up our technique,” he said. “That’s what we have to get better at this week.”

For Southwest DeKalb, the Panthers will be in familiar territory at the state championship. They have made many trips to the team duel state championship, but have yet to win team title and are looking to win their first title. Coach Keith Johnson said his wrestlers have to put in the extra work to finally hoist the trophy.

“They have to practice hard,” he said. “Practice hard and motivate themselves.”

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