Saturday, February 6 marked the first-ever appearance in the SCISA State Wrestling Championship final for the Highlander Varsity wrestlers, as they faced off against two-time defending state champion Cardinal Newman. After defeating archrival Hammond in the semifinals, Heathwood entered the contest, held in the Hammond gymnasium, as the underdog but quickly proved to be ready for the challenge.
On the mat, the Highlanders gave the Cardinals everything they could handle and more, winning the head-to-head matchups 30-24. A large and energetic Heathwood support section saw the team collect 5 pins on the day, led early on by 7th-grader Lane Clarkson (103-lb. weight class), freshman Luke Spurrier (126), and freshman Henry Kimbrough (152), before turning to the senior leadership of Woodson Bagnal (160) and Justin Taylor (Heavyweight).
Unfortunately, the numbers game didn’t work in the Highlanders’ favor, as four weight classes were not filled. The resulting 24 forfeit points propelled CN to a 48-30 win, and their third consecutive state title.
Despite the tough finish, the team still enjoyed the best season in school history, including first-ever wins over Hammond, highest state ranking, and highest state finish. And on February 13 they added to their impressive season with individualSCISA state titles for Justin Taylor and Luke Spurrier, with Reagan Olsen, Drew Hall, and Lane Clarkson all finishing second in the state in their weight classes.
While the team will lose two dominant senior wrestlers in Bagnal and Taylor, they more than proved to the Highlander community and the state that they will be a team to watch for years to come.