steve.carter@gaflnews.com



FITZGERALD -- After two days of competition, the annual Fitzgerald Invitational Wrestling Tournament championship was won by the host Purple Hurricanes Saturday.

Fitzgerald took the top spot with 138.5 points. Camden County finished second with 123.5 points, while Worth County garnered third with 118.5 points. The remainder of the six team field was rounded off by Tift County with 113.5 points, Irwin County with 100 points and Screven County with 64.

"It was a good tournament. Every team present had a lot of good wrestlers," said Fitzgerald coach Mike Ellis. "We got in some good matches over the past two days."

Talking of his team's success, Ellis added, "we are still a young team, but I was happy we were able to get the win."

Bo Harper at 152 was Fitzgerald's lone individual champion. The Hurricanes picked up points with six second places, three third places and three fourth places.

Finishing second in their weight classes were: Jason Fergerson at 112, John Chaney at 125, Kyle Young at 130, Drew Hobby at 135, Sam Rodgers at 215 and Quan Phillips at 275.

With third place finishes were Xaviar McCray at 103, Desmond Dopson at 119 and Nate Stewart at 171. Finishing fourth for the Hurricanes were Clint Revels at 140, Jared Smith at 160 and Russ Ridgeway at 189.

The Worth County Rams were happy with their third place finish in the tournament.

"We wrestled well as all our top wrestlers finished either first or second," said Worth coach Wayne Kirkbride. "I am looking forward to the rest of the season with our team."

Winning their weight classes for the Rams were Joey Knox at 135 and Brian McGahee at 145.

Second place finishes for Worth went to Chuck Gaughf at 119, Will Knox at 140 and Patrick Holbert at 189. Also, a pair of wrestlers from Worth finished third, Joe Walker at 160 and Anthony Rogers at 215.

With a young team, Tift County Blue Devil coach Shawn Watson looked at the Fitzgerald event as a way to get his team experience.

"We are learning and gaining more experience in every match. We need to figure out how to win some 'gut-check' matches, but we are getting there," said Watson.

"We are coming on strong this season. Last year we won this tournament, but we were burnt out by the time of the Area. We haven't peaked yet this year and that's good for us."

Tift's individual champions were Randy Bloodworth at 103, Marcus Daughtry at 171 and Brad McWilliams at 275.

Taking home third from Tift were: Ben Salter at 112, Chance Owen at 130, Jason Garey at 135, Jamie Spurlin at 152 and Derrick Moseley at 189. Sarrain Cook at 119, Robby Garren at 125 and Josh Roberts at 145 each finished fourth for the Devils.

"Our kids wrestled well. This was our best showing of the year, so far," said Irwin County Indians coach Tommie Dopson.

Winning individual titles for the Indians were Garlan Lott at 125, Cliff Benson at 160 and Clayton Sirmans at 215.

Jake Dukes at 171 finished second, while Ben McMahan at 140 and Keith Harper at 275 each finished third.

The next big wrestling event of the season will be Saturday, as Tift County hosts the annual Blue Devil Invitational. According to Watson, 15 teams from around the state of Georgia are expected to compete.



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