By EDDY GIFFORD
The 2022-2023 wrestling season came to an end this past week in Macon. The Wolverines sent five qualifiers to Macon and came home with one state champion.
Gideon Moore, Brandon Willerson, Heidi Raines, and Jordan Casstellanos did not place in Macon, but all four competed well. Raines could have rolled to a championship easily in the girl’s division but decided to challenge herself by competing against boys. She was the only female to qualify for the boy’s tournament. Jordan Casstellanos would lose in the blood round to the eventual third place finisher. His other loss was to the state runner up.
Dade’s lone placer was Landon Williams, who won his second consecutive state title by defeating last year’s 1A state champion at 182 pounds. Williams was last year’s 2A champion at 182 pounds.
The two met again this year at 215 pounds, and it was the match of the week. The entire arena seemed to stop and watch as fans from Trion began to chant, “let’s go Williams!”
William’s opponent was nationally ranked Hoke Poe Hogan from Commerce. He has won multiple national tournaments and is being highly recruited by power five schools. All his accolades did not serve him well in his match with Williams.
Williams completely dominated the match from start to finish. He out wrestled Hogan in every phase and all three periods. With five seconds remaining and leading 14-5, Williams pinned Hogan, and the entire arena erupted. In his interview with Georgia Grappler, Williams said, “When I stepped on the mat, I knew there could only be one winner. I thought, it’s going to be me.”
“This was a great way to end our season. It serves as a lesson that talk doesn’t mean anything, rankings don’t mean anything, at the end of the day, you have to bring it when the whistle blows, and Landon always does that,” coach Jeff Poston said.
Congratulations to Landon Williams, a two-time state champion!