The fledgling wrestling programs at Keenan and Columbia made a little history at the Class 2A Upper State qualifying meet at Broome High School.
Both programs will be represented at the state tournament for the first time. The Keenan rep is Matthew Johnson, while Columbia’s first state qualifier is Trey Leonard.
Johnson pinned his way through the heavyweight bracket to the Upper State championship and carries a 27-1 season record and the No. 1 seed to the 2A-1A finale this weekend at Lexington. Not bad for a first-year wrestler.
“I think Matt is really doing a great job. I mean, anytime you have won more than you lost its good, but he has done some things that have even taken me by surprise,” said Keenan coach Marlin Taylor. “But like I have told him: It’s not over yet and there is still a lot of unfinished business to handle."
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Leonard made the cut by finishing second to Gilbert’s Jeff Hoover at 171 pounds. Hoover nipped Leonard 7-6 in the title bout.
“It’s great that Trey became our first state qualifier, but you are always want a little more,” said Columbia coach Joe Lovier. “We had some other kids come up short, but all in all I’m pleased where we are as a program. This is only our third years and we’re still very young and learning the ropes.”
Leonard sports a 28-6 record. Antonio Geiger just missed joining Leonard at state, losing in the 145 consolation semifinals.
Johnson’s state debut will be against Loris senior Emmanuel Williams. Leonard draws David McCully of Bamberg-Ehrhardt.