Proving it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog — or rat, in this case — the Liberty County Recreation Department Mat Rats wrestling team is in the midst of a successful second season, with several of the young athletes already in possession of multiple medals.
The Rats returned from solid showings at the Jan. 17 Lowndes County Classic and the Jan. 24 Perry Panther Classic with medals and plenty of team points for their efforts.
Lowndes County Classic
Mat Rat Andrew Houghton, 8, wrestled in eight matches in the 10-and-under division, finishing in first place in the 70-pound weight class and fourth in the 64-pound class, earning his team 13 points for the meet.
Zachary Terry wrestled in four matches in the 10-and-under 140-pound weight class, earning second place and 7 team points.
Tyler Fisher finished third in the 14U, 130-pound class and fourth place in the 14U, 135-pound weight class, earning 8 team points.
Mason Wells wrestled in six matches in the 14-and-under division. He finished second in the 130-pound weight class and third in the 135-pound weight class and received 12 team points.
The Mat Rats finished in fourth place overall out of 12 teams at the event. They missed third place by only two points.
"Andrew Houghton was outstanding at Lowndes," Mat Rat coach Philip Howe said. "He won five of his eight matches with the fastest pin coming in 48 seconds. Andrew showed great toughness wrestling up one age division in the 64-pound weight class."
First place: South Georgia Athletic Club
Second place: Glynn Coast Wrestling Team
Third place: Perry Takedown
Fourth place: Coastal Athletic Association, LCRD Mat Rats
Fifth place: Toombs County Wrestling Team
Sixth place: Camden County Wrestling Team
Subhead: Perry Panther Classic
"T his tournament was the biggest regional tourney the kids have gone to up to this point," Howe said. "We took eight wrestlers and wrestled in 11 weight classes."
Trey Neal, a.k.a. ‘Shooter,’ had the longest day, wrestling in 14 matches in the 12-and-under division.
He finished fourth in the 77-pound class and fifth in the 73-pound class, earning 3 team points.
Houghton wrestled in 12 matches, finishing third in the 70-pound 8U division, third in the 70-pound class and fourth in the 64-pound class. He received 8 team points.
New Mat Rat Samuel Schiesser wrestled in four matches in the 10U division. He placed fourth in the 70-pound weight class, earning 3 team points. His brothers, Andrew and John Patrick, also new to the team, earned points as well.
David Schiesser wrestled in five matches for the 12U division. He placed fourth in the 97-pound class, earning 3 team points. John Patrick Schiesser wrestled in four matches for the 14U division, finishing fifth in the 115-pound class.
Zachary Terry wrestled in four matches in the 10U division, placing second in the 140-pund weight class and earning 7 points for the Rats.
Tyler Fisher fought in seven matches finishing fourth in the 130-pound 14U class and second in the 135-pound class. He earned 10 points.
Mason Wells wrestled six times in the 14U division. He took seond in the 130-pound class and first in the 135-pound class. He gave the Rat team 17 points.
The LCRD Mat Rats finished sixth overall out of 28 teams.
"It’s nice to be competing with top teams in the state like Collins Hill, Walton and Perry," Howe said. "It says a lot about how far our young program has come so quickly. It’s also nice to see that it is not just pot luck. We are competing with these teams every weekend and beating them in head to head competition and we are right on the threshold of beating them in team competition. Even though we have a small team enrollment number, the fact is that we are beating them on the mat. We just don’t have enough kids to help amass the team points that are needed to win a team title."
Howe said Mason Wells was the wrestler of the week for his performance at the Perry Panther Classic.
His fastest pin came in 25 seconds.
Next week, the Rats are going to the South Georgia Championships in Toombs County.
First place: Perry Takedown
Second place: West Laurens Wrestling Team
Third place: Toombs County
Fourth place: Walton Georgia
Fifth place: Collins Hill
Sixth place: CAA Wrestling, the LCRD Mat Rats