Christian Rodgers got a late start to the high school wrestling season.
The Tattnall Square senior who finished second in last year’s GHSA Class 1A traditional championship at 220 pounds didn’t hit the mat this season until the conclusion of the Trojans’ postseason football run, one that took the team to the Class 1A private school semifinals.
As a defensive lineman, Rodgers helped set the tone for a successful football season. But that meant his wrestling opponents early in the season had more mat time. One of those opponents, Rutland’s D’quavious Woods, defeated Rodgers early on, keeping Rodgers from achieving his goal of a perfect season.
Rodgers has gotten back on track as wrestling season progressed. He won his weight class Saturday at the Bibb County Championships at Howard, pinning Woods in the second period to improve to 19-1.
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“I was hoping to go undefeated, and I lost to the guy that I just beat the first match of the year,” Rodgers said. “It felt good to beat him (Saturday).”
Saturday’s meet was the final major competition for Bibb County wrestling programs prior to area traditional meets scheduled for this week. Sectionals are in two weeks, followed by the traditional state finals Feb. 9-11 at the Macon Coliseum.
Howard won the team competition, topping Mount de Sales for the first-place trophy by placing 11 wrestlers in the top four. The Huskies finished with 158 points, with the Cavaliers, who had four individual champions and 10 top-four finishes, finishing with 149.5 points.
The Huskies have built depth in their program the past couple of years. JaQwun Stinson claimed Howard’s first individual state title last year as a senior, and the program continues to grow. Nathan Campbell claimed Howard’s lone county title at 132 pounds.
“It’s been a process,” Howard head coach Adam Gillhouse said. “The guys are starting to buy into what we’re doing. JaQwun winning last year was big for us. The guys saw some of his success and how exciting that can be. We had some guys come out who hadn’t wrestled before, and they’re working hard and have done a good job for us.”
Mount de Sales was the only Bibb County program to reach the state team duals earlier this month. Winning individual county titles were Roman Vadini (106 pounds), Christian Sims (120), Jaylan Gaines (138) and Noah Cunard (170).
Also winning county titles were Southwest’s Daniel “Chico” Ramirez (113) and Anthony Trim (160), Central’s Cameron Thompson (126) and Javius Johnson (285), Northeast’s Lamarkus Pounds (145) and Zacherie Hicks (182) and FPD’s Phillip Carlton (152) and Denson Martin 195.