Lafayette High School is a program rich in history on the wrestling mats. The only high school wrestling team in the state of Georgia to hold a team title in three separate classifications, Lafayette wrestlers have seen their share of ups and downs in the past decade. But, the addition of some new faces on the coaching staff and three wrestlers who just qualified for the State Championship tournament in Macon, Ga. have shone a glimmer of greatness for the once-mighty Lafayette Ramblers. Head Coach, Joe Franks and his assistants, Matt Stanfield, Caleb Hartshorn, Derrick Murdock and Shawn Turner are bringing wrestling back to the Orange and Black.
Tyler Beard (160lbs) was dominant in his Sectional run, pinning his way to the finals where he took 2nd Place. The junior wrestler has been on the mat since elementary school and his 42-11 record this season makes him a threat to finish somewhere high on the State podium. Beard finished the season strong with a 1st Place finish at the Darlington Invitational, pinning all opponents, including in the finals.
At 220lbs, Senior Cody Deal had a 41-14 season and entered the Sectionals tournament with high hopes and lived up to them. A narrow one-point loss was the only thing keeping Deal from the finals. After the loss, Deal completely destroyed the competition in the consolation bracket and won the consolation finals 8-1 to finish 3rd. Deal is a legitimate threat every time he steps on the mat and, with more than a decade of experience on the mat, Deal moves his mountainous frame with alarming agility and speed. Deal showcased his strength at this year’s Dalton Carpet Classic where no opponent made it out of the first period on his way to a 1st Place Finish. The 16-man bracket for the AAAA State Championship tournament will feature the best of the best and you can be sure that anyone seeing the name Cody Deal will NOT be looking forward to the bout.
Cole Ingram (170lbs) is 39-5 on the season and proves that steal sharpens steal. Partnering with Beard in the practice room has honed both wrestler’s skills and Ingram’s performance at Sectionals was a prime example. During a long day of wrestling, Ingram peaked at exactly the right time, which was Overtime… in the finals… against a quality opponent. Ingram won the match and is now the favorite in many eyes to bring a State Championship back to the home of the Rambling Wreck. Ingram has too many accomplishments on the mat to list and, with a title at the Darlington Classic and placements at the Dalton Carpet Classic and a top 6 finish at the brutal gauntlet known as the McCallie Invitational, Ingram will take his Sectional crown into Macon with a spot at the top of the podium firmly in his mind.
In spite of most Lafayette fans looking to the basketball courts solely for the thrill of roundball, wrestlers see a basketball court only as “complete” when wrestling mats are stretched out as their personal battlefield zone. Deal, Beard and Ingram are just the gladiators that Lafayette fans need to remind them of why wrestling is the oldest sport in the world and the original Olympic sport.