By J. SCOTT HELTON
The Trion Bulldogs magical season continued this past weekend as they captured their first-ever single-A duals state title in Macon. Trion’s wrestling program (which current Coach Eric Brock was a member) won the traditional title in 1994, but before this season, the highest placing in the dual’s competition was a second-place finish to Commerce last season.
Trion easily beat their first match-up, Landmark, 66-6, which placed them against a very strong Mt. Pisgah team. The Bulldogs had several hard-fought matches and came away with the victory 42-22, which put them in the finals against Commerce for the second straight year. Commerce had won the title from 2014 through 2019, but this would prove to be Trion’s year.
The Bulldogs’ Alex Stewart (220) was impressive in his match, despite the loss. Trion’s Heavyweight Clay Baker (285) got a quick pin to set Trion on their way. Next up, Seth Huskins (106) beat his opponent 8-7, and Daegen Vaughn (113) got a first-period pin to add to the Trion lead, which was now 15-4. Commerce won the next match against Trion’s Alonzo Francisco (120) to narrow the lead to 15-10. Bulldog Conner Deparlier (126) won his match 7-5, and Bryson Flynt (132) pinned his opponent in the second period making the score 24-10, Trion.
Bowdon Brock (138) lost a close match for the Bulldogs, which made the score 24-13, and Trion would put the title out of reach with the next three matches. Logan Eller (145), Lincoln Maddux (152), and David Paiz (160) put the score at 42-13, and with the number of matches left, there was no way Commerce could catch the Bulldogs.
Despite having won the title, Trion’s Bladyn Bowman remained unphased as he scored bonus points for the Bulldogs with a 13-4 win. Commerce won the next two matches against Bo Jones, and Brantley Willbanks and Trion came out with the state title by a score of 46-25.
The Bulldogs were impressive in their dethroning of Commerce by winning nine of the 14 weight classes with six pins. Going unbeaten for the tournament were: Seth Huskins (106), Daegen Vaughn (113), Conner Deparlier (126), Bryce James (132), Logan Eller (145), Lincoln Maddux (152), David Paiz (160), Bladyn Bowman (170) and Clay Baker (285).
“I am incredibly proud of our boys; they believed in a dream and embraced the process of making their dream a reality. I am also proud of our administration, parents, fans, and community for showing up and supporting us. It was amazing watching Chattooga’s fans and team cheer for us and watching Trion’s fans and team cheering for Chattooga. It was an unbelievable moment we will never forget,” Head Coach Eric Brock said after the match.