By Jim O’Hara
Having turned in a pair of strong performances against some of the top programs in the nation, the Shorter Hawks once again made sure they were the best team in the state over the weekend when they won their second straight Georgia Intercollegiate State Championships title at Life University in Marietta.
The Hawks defended their crown best six squads from Georgia thanks to first place finishes by five wrestlers – Ben Smith (125), Wally Figaro (165), Dalton Lane (174), Terrence Smith (184) and Andrew Ewers (285.) Kannon Madden (157) added a second place finish for the Hawks while Marlen Morgan (285) claimed fourth-place honors.
Rounding out the team effort for the Hawks were 133 – Hayden Randolph (133), Demarcus Thomas (141), Brandon Dyer (149) and Joseph Hinchman (197.)
In addition, Nate Galloway (149) won his weight class competing as an unattached wrestler.
Shorter entered the meet coming off two top efforts, having taken second place two weeks ago facing some of Pennsylvania’s best programs at the Mid-Penn Duals and last week was second at the NCWA Collegiate Cup Tournament in Dalton.
In that showdown, the Hawks beat North Florida, MIT, Central Florida and Liberty before falling by four points to Grand Canyon – the Antelopes are ranked No. 1 in the NCWA and are making the transition from the NCAA Division II ranks to Division I – in the championship match.
At the Georgia Collegiate Cup, Smith pinned Quintni Noel of Darton in his title match; Figaro took his crown with a decision over Khalil Abdush-Shakur of Life; Lane picked up a major decision in his title match over Arthur Walthour of Brewton-Parker; Smith won in a tiebreaker against Life’s Trey Hicks; and Ewers won his title match in a decision over Jacob Roza of Life.
The Hawks return to the mat on Thursday going head-to-head with Newberry (S.C.) and visits NAIA power University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) on Feb. 14 in their last dual match of the year.
Shorter then turns its attention to a pair of National Collegiate Wrestling Association postseason events, competing in the SEC Championships in Orlando, Fla., on March 1 and capping off the year wrestling at the NCWA National Championships on March 13-15 in Allen, Tex.