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Laurence Manning High School

Swampcats’ speed and strength team captures third straight SCISA AAA state title


By Justin Driggers

Special Correspondent


Manning – In his seven seasons guiding the Laurence Manning Academy speed and strength team, coach Shawn McCord has seen his team achieve a lot of success at the SCISA AAA state meet – a lot.

LMA entered this year’s meet in late April at Wilson Hall with an eye on capturing its fourth overall championship in the last five years and third in a row.

But this year was going to be different, McCord said.

“We had to switch things up a lot,” he said. “We lost five of our biggest lifters from last year who had been with us through all of these state championships. We knew this was going to be a tough year to try to win it again.

“So what we did this was go at it with the focus more on speed than strength.”

The strategy paid off in a big way. Although this year’s meet was a little closer than in years past, the Swampcats still pulled off the victory by outpacing both Cardinal Newman and Pinewoop Prep for the top spot and the three-peat.

“We had three brand new guys who came in to help with the speed (events) and it really paid off,” McCord said. “…Unlike a lot of teams, we prepare for this meet. We start practicing for it about two months out and really focusing on the individual events and what we need to do to win.”

Two of the three first timers won their overall individual titles for Laurence Manning. Sophomore Chase Lee finished first in the 131-140-pound class while senior Taylor Lee was victorious in the 151-160-pound division. The other first-time participant, senior Morgan Morris, finished runner-up in the 171-180-pound division.

The Swampcats also had four other athletes take home individual titles and two more finish state runner-up.

Sophomore Wyatt Rowland finished tops in the 141-150-pound weight class – the third overall title in his career. Junior Brewer Brunson won his second individual championship in the 161-170-pound division.

Garrett Black, a junior, walked away with the 181-190-pound title which was his third time winning. Grayson Gamble, also a junior, captured his fourth overall championship in the 191-205-pound weight class.

Junior Cameron Molina finished state runner-up in the 130-pound-and-under division winner while junior Kodie Reaves took second in the 206-220-pound classification.

Junior Jay Godwin and J.D. Burroughs collected valuable points for the Swampcats in the 221-235-pound and the 235-pounds-and-up divisions.

LMA also had a number of alternates ready to go as well this season – sophomores Burgess Jordan and Shane Stephens and freshmen Johnathon Griffin, Bennett Stephens, Henry Black and Cody Embry.

 “I think that’s been another key for us is we’ve always taken a lot of alternates with us to gain some experience,” McCord said. “Some of these guys might sit for two years, but then they come in and step up for us and fill those key spots.

“…We take this very seriously and so do the kids. We wanted to get them in the weight room and training pretty much year round and we’ve always gone into this competition looking be very competitive year in and year out.”


© 2017 High School Sports Report

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