DeKalb County School District




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Southwest DeKalb's Yasin wins second consecutive state wrestling title

photo of DCSD AthleticsSouthwest DeKalb junior Abdul
Rahman-Yasin (center) holds up
two fingers to represent his
being a two-time state wrestling

Southwest DeKalb junior Abdul Rahman-Yasin became a two-time state wrestling champion with another impressive state tournament performance last weekend at Loganville.

Yasin won the Class AAAAA gold in the 145 weight class in 2013 with an impressive 42-1 record, including 4-0 in the state tournament with two pins and a technical fall (19-4) along the way.

The 2014 season put Yasin up a weight class in 152, but it did not slow down the tactician as he rolled up a perfect 38-0 record including DeKalb County, Area and Sectional championships.

He opened the Class AAAAA State Tournament taking just 23 seconds to pin Greg Gilbert of Washington County to move into the quarterfinals. It only took 1 minute, 7 seconds for Yasin to pin Hunter Hargis of Loganville to move into the semifinals.

The semifinal match was the toughest for Yasin as Flowery Branch's Zach Winter pushed him before falling in a 12-6 decision and set up a meeting with Allatoona's Jacob Robinson who had won his three matches by pin, 9-5 decision and a 2-0 overtime victory in the semifinals.

Robinson managed to last only 1 minute, 23 seconds as Yasin pinned him to claim his second consecutive gold medal and state title. Yasin became the third DeKalb County wrestler to win back-to-back state medals in the past nine years including former Southwest DeKalb wrestler Dequan Warner (2006-07) and Clarkston's Terrance Gaddy (2008-09).

This marks the ninth consecutive season for at least one DeKalb County wrestler to bring home a gold medal.

The DeKalb County contingent of 37 wrestlers to qualify for state returned home having placed 13 in state competition over four classifications to top last year's total of 10.

Two of the 13 to place brought home silver coming up just short in their state title matches.

photo of DCSD AthleticsLithonia's Chris Nelson (far left)
won a silver medal and
teammate Kirlglen Hudson
far right) took fifth to
lead Lithonia to a Top 10 finish
in the Class AAAA Traditional
Wrestling State Championships.
They are coached by Patrick Ryan

Lithonia senior Chris Nelson dropped his championship title match to finish 51-3 on the year including DeKalb County, Area and Sectional titles. Nelson's run to the title along with junior Kirkglen Hudson's (43-4) fifth place finish helped Lithonia to a 10th place finish overall in the Class AAAA team standings, up from 41st a year ago.

Lithonia had an historic season finishing fifth in the State Duals, while winning the Last Man Standing, DeKalb County Championships and Area 6 title and qualifying 11 for the Traditional State Championship Tournament.

The Class AAAAA State Tournament also had some big performers from DeKalb besides Yasin led by Dunwoody's Sunny Sharma who wrestled his way back from a semifinal loss to capture the third place bronze medal. Sharma won two matches after a tough semifinal loss, including a 9-5 decision over Grant Slater of Creekside for the bronze.

Lakeside's Josh Powell (60-7) and Imani Heslop (56-13) both pulled out fourth place finishes by wrestling their way back to the bronze medal matches in the 145 and 220 weight classes, respectively, after losses. The pair helped Lakeside to a Top 15 finish in the team standings.

DeKalb County had a silver medalist and a fourth place finisher in the Class AAA State Tournament at Buford to help Towers and McNair to Top 20 team finishes as they tied for 19th.

Junior Stevenson Derival of Towers pinned Kentavious Johnson of East Hall and won a 6-2 decision over North Hall's Darrien Ingram to reach the finals of the 195 weight class. Derival came up short against Buford's undefeated Chip Ness in the finals to suffer his first loss of the season. Stevenson finished 42-1 on the year including individual titles at the DeKalb County Championships, Area and Sectional meets.

McNair junior Jamaal Deng lost his first match of the tournament, but wrestled his way back into the bronze medal match. He defeated Zack Evans and a 15-5 major decision over Tristan Guthrie of Bacon County to reach the bronze round. But he fell to East Hall's Edward Vergara for the second time in the tournament to end up fourth.

Lithonia battles past Marist for Area 6-AAAA traditional title

photo of DCSD AthleticsArea 6-AAAA champs Lithonia Bulldogs

The Lithonia Bulldogs are putting the bite on the competition recently as they won their third consecutive tournament title with a five-point victory over Marist to win the Area 6-AAAA traditional wrestling title at Marist last weekend.

The Bulldogs had 13 wrestlers battle their way into the championship round and picked up five gold medals on the way to scoring 210.5 points to best rival Marist (205.5) for the third time this season. Banneker was a distant third with 67 points and DeKalb County's Chamblee was fourth with 58.5 points.

"It feels amazing to beat Marist three times in a row," said Bulldog coach Patrick Ryan. "We respect the Marist wrestling program as competitors and always enjoy the opportunity to compete with them."

The five gold medals included three back-to-back Area champions in undefeated Kirkglen Hudson (36-0) in the 106 pound class, Shamel Findley (40-4) at 113 and Davion Findley (11-6) at 195. Chris Morgan (34-7) at 126 and Allen Morgan (32-13) at 132 captured their first Area top prizes.

Eight other wrestlers captured the silver and a ninth picked up a bronze as 14 Bulldogs advanced to the GHSA West Sectional Tournament at Fayette County on Friday and Saturday (February 7-8).

"Our Championship victory was an impressive team effort with the 13 wrestlers reaching the championship match and another pinning his way to the bronze medal," said Ryan.

The Bulldogs have won the DeKalb County Wrestling Championships, The Last Man Standing Championships and now the Area 6-AAAA title as they prepare to take that step forward in state competition beginning with the sectionals.

Chamblee finished fourth in the team standings with 58.5 points led by Yalwaiker Eshete who won the 120 weight class as one of seven Bulldogs to advance to the sectionals.

Redan (4), Stone Mountain (2) and Columbia (2) bring the total to 15 wrestlers who will be representing DeKalb County at the Sectionals.

Area 6-AAAAA

photo of DCSD Athletics Area 6-AAAAA champs Southwest DeKalb Panthers

Southwest DeKalb repeated as the Area 6-AAAAA traditional wrestling champions by getting past Area Duals champ Lakeside 244.5 to 216.5 as 52 DeKalb County wrestlers advanced to this weekend's West Sectional at Allatoona on Friday and Saturday.

The Panthers picked up wins in five weight classes led by 2013 state champion Abdur-Rahman Yasin who won the 152 class to remain undefeated on the season. Other wins were by Jordan Johnson (126), Cameron Strickland (138), Treylyn Meadors (170) and Justin Hussein (195). Six other Panthers advanced to Sectionals including silver medalists Muadh As-Siddiq (120) and Damion Barham (132).

Lakeside captured three weight classes led by Alex LaRotta (182), Imani Heslop (22) and Alec Conyers (285). The Vikings advanced a total of nine wrestlers to Sectionals including silver medalists Spencer Wilson (126), Josh Powell (145), Anthony Osley (170) and Devon White (195).

Dunwoody advanced nine wrestlers to Sectionals led by 120 weight class champ Sunny Sharma and 182 class silver medalist Greg Wesolowski.

The Wildcats other six qualifiers also placed by taking bronze medals including Nester Foley (106), Diego Bautista (126), Tyrone Carter (132), Korey Lowrey (138), Mike Greenstein (170) and Tyler Barrett (195).

Other weight class victors included Arabia Mountain's Alema Favors (132), Stephenson's Malik Sterling (106) and Eric Baldwin (145) and Tucker's Jamil Singleton (160).

Area 3-AAA

McNair piled up 110 points and advanced seven wrestlers to the State West Sectional at Sonoraville this weekend.

The Mustangs were led by Raheem Shelton who captured gold in the 170 weight class and James Wallace who took silver in the 220 division. Terrance Perdue (126) and Jamaal Deng (152) also medaled for McNair with third place finishes.

Towers put a pair of wrestlers into the Sectionals with a gold medal performance by Stevenson Derival in the 195 class and a silver medal by Marquez Horton at 145. Towers Conward Walters earned a trip to the Sectionals with a fourth place finish at 182, but an injury will prevent him from wrestling this weekend. McNair's Justin Corley will replace Walters in the Sectionals.


Druid Hills advanced four wrestlers to this weekend's East Sectional at Lowndes County as three reached the finals and came away with silver medals.

Jordan Page (120), Noah Floyd (132) and Hakeem Enis (285) picked up the silver medals for the Red Devils. Shannon Miller also advanced to the Sectional in the 126 division.

Bulldog Wrestling Squad Captures Second Consecutive Tournament Title

The Lithonia Bulldog wrestling program is on a roll with back-to-back tournament titles on consecutive weekends.

The Bulldogs captured the championship of The Last Man Standing Tournament over the past weekend at Luella to follow up on their second ever DeKalb County Championships Tournament title a week earlier.

Lithonia bested Marist for the title by 9.5 points (195-185.5) to continue their winning ways. Defending champion Meadowcreek was third with 144.5, Luella was fourth at 140.5 and Lakeside-DeKalb was fifth with 136.

Lithonia was led by 1st place finishes by 106lb Kirkglen Hudson (35-0) 113lb Shamel Findley (39-4), and 160lb Chris Nelson (43-2). Shamel Findley and Chris Nelson were nominated most outstanding wrestlers for their performances in the tournament.

Allen Morgan (136) was nominated for participating in the best finals match of the tournament.

The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 5 in the Score Atlanta Class AAAA Wrestling Poll with a record of 30-11 in dual match competition, including a fifth place finish in the GHSA State Duals Tournament earlier in the month.

Lakeside's strong finish in the tournament is coupled with the Area 6-AAAAA Duals title earlier in January.

Lithonia piles up points on way to 2014 DeKalb County wrestling title

photo of DCSD AthleticsThe 2014 William S. Venable DeKalb County Wrestling
Championships was won by the Lithonia Bulldogs

The Lithonia Bulldogs placed in 13 of 14 weight classes on the way to the title at the 2014 William S. Venable DeKalb County Wrestling Championships held at Arabia Mountain over the weekend.

Four county champions and one runner-up came from the Bulldog squad which piled up 255.5 points which is the fourth highest total in the history of the DeKalb County Championships and second highest in the past 10. Tucker scored 306.5 to win the 2008 title and set the high point mark in the Championships.

"I'm so proud of my team, my managers, my coaching staff, and my wrestlers' family members for all the hard work and dedication they have put into our wrestling program at Lithonia," said Lithonia wrestling Coach Patrick Ryan. "This win was a total team effort with 13 guys racking up points to earn the championship."

It is just the second DeKalb County Wrestling Championships title for Lithonia and the first since the 1994 season when the Bulldogs defeated Shamrock 186-162.5.

Lakeside which had 10 wrestlers place out of 14 weight classes, including three champions and two runners-up, tallied 214 to take second followed by McNair (167.5), Southwest DeKalb (152.5) and Arabia Mountain (122) to round out the top five team scores.

Undefeated Kirk Hudson (29-0) repeated as the 106 weight class champ for the Bulldogs as he won by a technical fall over Dunwoody's Nest Foley. Junior Shamel Findley (33-4) improved on his silver medal of a year ago at 113 as he pinned Southwest DeKalb's Matthew Wray to capture the gold in 2014.

Lithonia senior Chris Nelson improved to an impressive 37-2 on the season by pinning McNair's Jamaal Deng (22-9) to take the gold in the 160 division. The final gold for Lithonia came in the 220 class as Devon Wallace (10-4) swept three matches by pin fall, including the finals' victory over Lakeside's Imani Heslop who is 48-10 on the season.

Lakeside got victories from sophomore Spencer Wilson (45-12) with a pin over Shannon Miller of Druid Hills at 126, senior Anthony Osley (23-11) with a decision over Lithonia's Chris James (29-6) at 170 and senior Alex LaRotta (54-4) had three consecutive pins, including the finals victory over Jovarn Gueh (8-5) of Stone Mountain at 182.

photo of DCSD AthleticsSouthwest DeKalb's Abdur-Rahman
Yasir won the William S.
Venable Most Valuable Wrestler

Southwest DeKalb junior Abdur-Rahman Yasir improved to 27-0 on the season with four consecutive pins to take the 152 title and be presented the William S. Venable Most Valuable Wrestler Award for the Tournament. Yasir is coming off a 2013 season in which he won county, area and state championships in Class AAAAA as sophomore in the 145 class with a 42-1 mark.

photo of DCSD AthleticsLakeside's Josh Powell (left) and
Stephenson's Eric Baldwin were
award the Jerun Tillery Best Finals
Match award for their exciting
championship match won by Baldwin

The Jerun Tillery Best Finals Match award went to Lakeside's Josh Powell (53-5) and Stephenson's Eric Baldwin (41-2) for their thrilling championship match in the 145 division. Both entered the match by winning their three matches leading up to the finals by pin fall to set up what would be the match of the tournament. Baldwin pulled out the decision over Powel to take the gold.

Arabia Mountain's fifth place finish was fueled by gold medals by seniors Alema Favors and Mikahi Dorsey. Favors improved to 31-0 on the season as he had three pins on the way to the finals before scoring a major decision over Tyrone Carter of Dunwoody in the finals of the 132 division. Dorsey (27-3) picked up the decision over McNair's Michael House (27-3) for the 138 title.

Dunwoody's Sunny Sharma won his second consecutive DeKalb County gold medal with a pin of Southwest DeKalb's Matthew Wray at 120 to improve to 35-2. Sharma, a senior, won gold in the 113 division a year ago.

Towers junior Stevenson Derival and Clarkston's Anthony Birden rounded out the individual champions in 2014. Derival, a sixth place finisher in the Class AAA Tournament in 2013, took the 195 title with a pin of Southwest DeKalb's Justin Hussein (14-5). Birden, a sophomore, improved to 18-4 on the season with a pin of Hakeem Enis (22-4) of Druid Hills to take gold in the 285 division.

The Area Traditional Tournaments begin on January 31/February 1 for the local teams with State Sectionals following on Feb. 7-8 and the State Championships on Feb. 13-15 at the Gwinnett Arena.

Bulldogs improve six spots in Class AAAA State Duals

Lithonia wrestling Coach Patrick Ryan wanted to see his team put up a fight at the GHSA State Duals Tournament in Macon last weekend.

He got what he wanted after a tough 48-30 loss to Alexander in the opening round, the Bulldogs responded with three consecutive victories in the consolation bracket to improve six places from their 12th place finish in 2013.

Lithonia responded with a 47-21 victory over Upson Lee to get things moving the direction Ryan wanted.

"I'm proud of the team," Ryan said. "The team was very focused and determined to get these wins at state."

Next up was a first round winner in the form of Glenn Hills and the Bulldogs answered the buzzer again with a 39-27 win to advance and face Area 6 rival Marist.

Marist defeated the Bulldogs 43-17 in the Area finals, but Lithonia was ready after reeling off a couple of wins in the state tournament.

Marist fell to the consolation bracket after a close 33-30 second round loss to Chestatee and was coming off a tough 31-25 victory over South Effingham.

The Bulldogs scored 22 more points against Marist than in the Area finals to take another hard fought victory in a 39-31 win to advance.

One of the deciding matches in the Bulldogs first ever win against Marist was in the 182 pound division as JeQuone Webb reversed his loss from the Area championships into a win to help propel Lithonia past Marist. Webb is 19-10 on the season after going 4-1 at the state meet.

"The Marist win means a lot for our wrestling program at Lithonia," Ryan said. "We have a great and positive rivalry with Marist and just haven't beaten them until this victory. We couldn't have gotten there without wrestling with heart and toughness."

The run ended in a match for fourth place as the Bulldogs once again faced Alexander which had lost in the semifinals. Alexander, the eventual third place finisher in the tournament, won 49-21 to eliminate the Bulldogs.

Lithonia's run was aided by Kirk Hudson who remained undefeated at 26-0 on the season by going 4-0 with three pins at state in the 106 division and Shamel Findley (113) who also went 4-0 with three pins to improve to an impressive 26-4.

History of DeKalb County Schools Wrestling

DeKalb County Schools takes wrestling to the mat in a very serious manner. The schools own 26 state team-wrestling championships and an amazing 309 individual state titles since 1961.

Dequan Warner, the 2007 class AAAA 112 state champion, won the 2006 class AAAA 103 lb. class state title as a freshman with a 32-0 record.

photo of Dequan WarnerDequan Warner (blue), the 2007
class AAAA 112 state champion

Columbia leads the current 18-school contingent in state titles with five (1972 to 1973, 1976 to 1977, 1988). The now defunct Briarcliff and Walker High Schools hold six and five of the state titles, respectively. Chamblee (1974, 1979) and Redan (1983 to 1984) are the only other schools with more than one title.

Lakeside won the last team title in 1997. Towers (1975), Avondale (1983), Cross Keys (1961), Stone Mountain (1969) and Lithonia (1971) also captured state titles. Towers, despite only one state title to its credit, holds the county lead in Top 10 finishes in the state competition with 28. Avondale has finished in the Top 10 23 times and Columbia is third with 19. The county has 15 of the current 18 schools with at least six or more top ten finishes.

photo of Terrance GaddyClarkston's Terrance Gaddy (green)
pins Lafayette's Will Gilbert

The 309 individual state titles include 57 participants that won 2 or more titles. Bucky Harrelson of Briarcliff won 4 titles (1961 to 1964) to lead the county and was later tied for that distinction when Lithonia's Arty McGuire won four from 1973 to 1976. Bill Glass (Druid Hills, 1965 to 1967), Craig Cummings (Sequoyah, 1967 to 1969), John Kalvelage (Lakeside, 1969 to 1971), Kirk Hoffman (Clarkston, 1978 to 1980), Kevin Pride (Towers, 1979 to 1981), J.J. Mathis (Clarkston, 1987 to 1989), Charles Cloud (Columbia, 1987 to 1989) and Richard Robinson (Tucker, 1991 to 1993) all won three state individual titles.

Six schools hold over 20 individual state titles led by Briarcliff with 40. Towers (28), Columbia (26), Avondale (25), Walker (23) and Redan (22) round out the six schools.